An explosion has killed at least seven people at a Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt, where worshippers had gathered to celebrate mass on New Year’s Eve.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said in a statement early Saturday that seven people were killed and 24 wounded in the blast, which occurred about a half-hour after midnight on New Year’s Day.
The explosion came from a car parked in front of the church. It was not clear whether the bomb had been inside the car or under it.
Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for the bomb, saying it was retaliation for two Egyptian Christian women who converted to Islam and are being held hostage as punishment for their conversion.
Some Egyptian Christians – known as Copts – are protesting at the site of the explosion.