A BOMB has exploded in Egypt near Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral killing at least 26 people, security services have said.
It is believed many of the victims are women and children.
The blast at St Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassiya area of Cairo took place during Sunday morning prayers.
Video footage from the scene shows parts of the cathedral reduced to rubble.
Security sources suggest an unidentified woman placed an IED inside a handbag in the cathedral before detonating the bomb remotely, despite heavy security around the building.
Bomb explosion at Cairo coptic cathedral
At least five people have been killed and ten injured in the blast
Huge plumes of smoke are seen coming out of St Mark’s after the explosion
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The explosion happened at around 10am local time (8am GMT).
Ambulances rushed victims to hospitals following the explosion during Sunday prayers
The cathedral is the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country’s population.
St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral has been destroyed in the blast
Eyewitnesses posted images of the cathedral reduced to rubble
Egyptian security forces are fighting an Islamist insurgency led by Islamic State’s branch in North Sinai, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed. The insurgents have also launched deadly attacks Cairo and other cities.
This is a breaking news story. More to follow.