Cairo: An explosion outside one of the Coptic community’s holiest churches in Cairo on Sunday night was the result of a homemade bomb, the Ministry of Interior confirmed yesterday in a statement.
The government said the bomb was a container inside a car parked in front the Lady Virgin Church in Helmiyat Al-Zatoun. Its explosion caused damage to a Fiat 128 parked in front of it belonging to one of the residents in the area. No one was hurt, and no damage was caused to the building.
Eyewitnesses told Daily News Egypt that the first explosion occurred at around 9 pm. According to the official statement, the vehicle, a Fiat 125 sedan, belonged to a Christian lawyer.
The statement said a second container connected to a cell phone was found nearby the bomb site containing a potentially explosive substance, and it was destroyed in a controlled explosion. Residents told Daily News Egypt the second explosion occurred at 1:30 am Monday.
Two workers in a butcher shop up the road, Ahmed and Shehata, told Daily News Egypt that people gathered around the site when the first explosion was heard and saw a damaged grey Fiat.
A man sitting at a nearby café who refused to give his name and had witnessed the second explosion told Daily News Egypt that cars aren’t usually allowed to park in front of the church, but because it was Sunday, cars would be parked outside the building.
Clergymen at the church, famous for a vision of the Virgin Mary that was believed to have been seen there in 1968, were reluctant to speak about the incident. When asked, a church official on site said “nothing happened.