US Senate condemns Egypt church attack

Egyptian Christians protest outside the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church following a January 1 car bomb attack

The US Senate has condemned a deadly attack on a Coptic Christian church on New Year’s Day in Alexandria, Egypt.

WASHINGTON — The US Senate has condemned a deadly attack on a Coptic Christian church on New Year’s Day in Alexandria, Egypt, at a time when the world’s eyes are on political unrest roiling the staunch US ally.

Lawmakers approved the symbolic measure, crafted by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, by voice vote late Monday.

The resolution urges the Egyptian government “to fully investigate the bomb attack and to lawfully prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act.”

Threatening to exacerbate tensions between Muslims and Egypt’s minority Christians, a suicide bomber killed 23 people, Egyptian authorities said, outside a church in the northern city of Alexandria after a New Year’s Eve mass at the start of 2011.

The resolution asks that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his government “enhance security for the Coptic Christian community” and ensure “religious freedom and equality of treatment for all people in Egypt.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came after an Al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq threatened Egypt’s Copts after claiming credit for a deadly October assault on a Syriac Catholic church in Baghdad.

Mubarak has vowed to catch those responsible, and has called it a foreign “terrorist operation.”

Egypt’s Christian community comprises 10 percent of the country’s population of 80 million.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved

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