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Tuesday, December 23, 2014  

Libya church blast kills 2 Egyptians
TRIPOLI An explosion rocked a Coptic church near Libya’s third-largest city of Misrata killing two Egyptians and wounding two others, the Egyptian embassy and state media reported on Sunday, as Cairo condemned the blast.

Libya’s official Lana news agency said the attack took place late on Saturday after mass as people were leaving the church. There was no immediate claim for the blast.

“Unknown assailants targeted a church building in the town of Dafniya, in Misrata (province), causing the death of two Egyptian citizens and wounding two others,” Lana reported.

“The explosion happened after the mass ended and people were on their way out,” said the agency.

An Egyptian diplomat in Tripoli said the explosion struck the church of Mar Girgis (St George) around 11.30pm (2230 GMT) on Saturday but that the embassy was not informed until the morning.

He confirmed that two Egyptians were killed and two others wounded in the attack.

“We still don’t have clear information” about what caused the explosion, the diplomat said. But he added that, according to initial reports, the blast took place in an annex of the church.

Atiya Al Dreni, vice-chairman of the Misrata local council said that an investigation was under way. “Explosives experts will determine what happened in the next few hours or days,” he said.

“The reasons are unknown... if it was intentional the number of casualties would have been higher.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr “denounced” the violence, the state-run Mena news agency reported from Cairo.

“Egypt is requesting an investigation into the circumstances of the operation and for those responsible to be put on trial,” the minister said.

The Egyptian foreign ministry also sent urgent messages to the Libyan interior and foreign ministries requesting beefed up security around the church, Mena added.

The agency said: “Two unknown assailants had thrown a grenade” at a church building.

Separately, an improvised bomb exploded outside the headquarters of the public prosecutor in Benghazi causing material damage but no fatalities, a security source said on Monday.

“Initial evidence suggests the device was a suitcase packed with high yield explosives,” an investigator at the scene said, adding that there were no casualties.

The overnight blast marked the third attack on the site in 2012, he said.

Agencies
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