Church in Egypt Bombed, Security Officials Say

An empty Coptic church in northern Egypt was reportedly bombed Saturday.

Security officials told The Associated Press that an explosive device was detonated though energy officials said the church fire was caused by a gas leak.

There were no injuries or major damage.

The explosion comes amid nearly two weeks of civil unrest in the North African country. Protesters have been on the streets demanding that President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for 30 years, step down.

Christians, meanwhile, have been forced to gather in their homes for prayer, fearing their safety if they were to meet at church.

At the start of the New Year, 23 Coptic Christians were killed and 80 were injured in a church bombing in Alexandria. The attack was condemned by church, human rights, and world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

The latest attack on Saturday was against Mar Girgis church in the town of Rafah bordering the Gaza Strip.

Christians, who make up eight to 12 percent of the population, have been calling for more protection from the state. Amid the ongoing protests, they are praying for a new Egypt, with democracy and freedom for the persecuted minority.

Mubarak announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in September. But anti-government protesters don't plan to stop their demonstrations until Mubarak resigns.

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