A temple like the one hit by an explosion in Egypt. Photo/Pexels
By ABDULKARIM SHERMAN
Egypt’s state-run television said 22 people had been killed and 35 injured in the blast, citing health ministry officials.
Local media reported the explosion hit St Peter’s church next to the cathedral, within the same complex.
BBC said photos and video footage showed damage to the exterior of the church, with shattered windows and broken roofing.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
The explosion happened at around 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT). Local media reported that Cairo’s security chief, Khalid Abdel Aal, arrived to inspect the scene.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10% of the country’s population.
St Mark’s Cathedral is the headquarters of the country’s Orthodox church, and the home of its leader, Pope Tawadros II.
On Saturday, six policemen were killed when a bomb exploded on a main road leading to the pyramids at Giza. The explosion, at a police checkpoint, was the deadliest attack on security forces in Cairo in over six months.
A recently formed militant group called Hasm claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two people were killed outside St Mark’s cathedral in 2013, when people mourning the death of four Coptic Christians killed in religious violence clashed with local residents.
According to Egypt’s official news agency Mena, an assailant threw a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.
On Friday, six policemen were killed in a bomb attack in Cairo claimed by a group suspected by authorities of links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack, which bore the hallmarks of Islamic militants fighting the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
As defense minister, Sisi led the July 2013 ousting of Mohammed Morsi, an elected Islamist president who has links to the Brotherhood.
Islamic militants launched a wave of attacks on security forces and Christians in response, as the government waged a sweeping crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and other activists.
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