The death toll in a car bomb attack outside a church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria rose to 22 even as hundreds of suspects were detained.

Hundreds of Coptic Christians, who feel they do not get adequate protection from the administration, continued to demonstrate outside the Foreign Ministry and neighbouring state television buildings.

Heavily—armed police and undercover agents were also deployed around churches across the country and checkpoints were set up outside all provinces to thwart any untoward incident.

Earlier, some protesters tried to surround the Grand Shaykh of Al—Azhar, Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, when he paid a visit to Coptic Pope Shenouda III at the St Mark Cathedral to offer condolences. He was accompanied by the Mufti of Egypt.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, a suicide bomber detonated his nail—packed bomb outside the Coptic Christian Church of the Saints in Alexandria where hundreds were attending a New Year’s Eve service.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif held a Cabinet meeting to review the present situation.

The Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, who account for up to 10 per cent of Egypt’s 80 million population.

Keywords: Egypt blast

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