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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Alexandria attack: “Blood and body parts were everywhere”

Eyewitnesses to the horror of the Alexandria church bombing spoke to Ahram Online

Ahmed Sabry in Alexandria , Saturday 1 Jan 2011
Photo: Nasser Nouri
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Eyewitnesses talking to Ahram Online described the explosion that shook Khalil Hamada Street in Sidi Bishr, Alexandria and spoke of the horror and carnage that the congregation of The Saints Church saw, even as they were ushering in the New Year in peaceful midnight prayer.

Sami  Saad, who was inside the church at the time of the blast, recounts, “the whole church was shaken by the sound of the explosion, some fifteen minutes after midnight, and as we rushed out we saw two cars on fire, and were told that they were the source of the explosion. The screams grew louder, and the New Year celebration was transformed into a scene of horror. Body parts and blood were spread almost everywhere, splashed across the walls and grounds in front of the church.”

He goes on, “We could smell the blood, and hundreds of us rushed to the focal point of the explosion to try to save whatever could be saved.”

Emil, a young man who stood bitterly weeping beside the church, told Ahram Online he was looking for his mother’s torn remains. She had gone ahead to church in time for mass, while he was a little late, as he was attending a New Year’s Eve get together with his friends.

Across the street stood a woman in her fifties, who was screaming and wailing the words, “oh my children, oh my children”. She had been thrown unconscious by the explosion, and woke to find both her sons had been killed.

One of the injured, approached by Ahram Online, pointed at   ears saying he’d lost his hearing. Attending medical staff explained, however,  that this was a temporary condition caused by the blast.

Wagdy Malak, another eyewitness, said that had it not for the Bishop Bakhounis, who rushed to the scene upon the Pope’s orders, things would have gone completely out of control. The Bishop was able to contain the congregation’s anger and prevent them from clashing with the police.jur

According to Malak, emotions were running so high that the outraged members of the congregation initially perceived the police forces detailed to the site to investigate the bombing and give aide to the injured, were coming to attack the church.

The blast went off about a half-hour after midnight as worshippers were emerging from a New Year's Mass at the Saints Church in Sidi Bishr, Alexandria, killing 21 people and injuring 79 others. 

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