Egypt tightens security around churches after bombing
Authorities in Egypt imposed tight security around churches across the country Sunday, in the wake of a suicide bombing outside a church in Alexandria that 21 people and injured nearly 100, DPA repported.
The Interior Ministry deployed more heavily-armed police and undercover agents. Checkpoints were set up outside all provinces and cars were being prevented from parking near churches.
State media reported that hundreds of suspects were detained in the south of the country, without giving further details.
Shortly after midnight Friday, a suicide bomber detonated his nail-packed bomb outside the Coptic Christian Church of the Saints in the northern city of Alexandria where hundreds were attending a New Year's Eve service.
Twenty-one people were killed and 97 injured in the blast, according to the latest figures from the Health Ministry.
Education Minister Ahmed Zaki Badr instructed schools and universities to hold a minute's silence for the victims on Sunday.
School teachers were told to talk about national unity and convey the government's stance that church bombing was "a terrorist attack and not sectarian".
On Saturday, the government stressed that "foreign elements" were behind the attack, saying the country rather than its Christian minority was targeted.
Christians account for around 10 per cent of the population. Copts are preparing to celebrate their Christmas.