Egypt's Christians celebrate Coptic Christmas amid tight security
Egypt's Christians celebrated the Coptic Christmas amid tight security on Friday, a week after a deadly bombing targeted one of their churches in the northern city of Alexandria, DPA reported.
Heightened security measures remained in place on Friday for Coptic Christmas Day. Plainclothes security were also spread in the streets.
Streets were cordoned off Thursday afternoon with state security cars and officers around churches.
"Before I congratulate you for Christmas, I want to mourn our children in Alexandria and in many countries where they have been martyred; innocents who haven't done anything," Pope Shenouda III, told the Christmas Eve mass at Cairo's main cathedral.
In the Church of the Saints, where the attack took place last Saturday, Thursday's evening mass was filled by grief. Women were wearing black, while men wore badges that read "Pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you."
"Believe that everything leads to goodness for those who love God. What happened was a test for our faith," the priest told churchgoers in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.
The country has been on high alert ever since a suspected suicide bomber detonated a nail-packed bomb at the church early on New Year's day, killing 23 people and injuring up to 100 in Alexandria.
The blast sparked daily protests throughout the country, with a number of both Muslim and Christian demonstrators injured in clashes with police and others arrested.