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Egypt's Christians pick up the pieces after deadly News Year's Eve church bombing

Priests called for calm as mourners gathered Sunday at the scene of the New Year's Eve church bombing that killed 21 and wounded 90 in Alexandria, Egypt.

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An Egyptian Muslim man walks past a mosque after New Year's Eve attacks in Alexandria, Egypt, Sunday. Grieving Christians, many clad in black, were back praying Sunday in the church where 21 worshipers were killed in an apparent suicide bombing. They felt betrayed by a government they say has not done enough to keep them safe.

Ben Curtis/AP

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Worshipers in Alexandria, Egypt, returned Sunday to the church that was the target of a deadly New Year's Eve bombing to hold a somber mass amid sobering reminders of the worst attack on Egypt's Christian minority in more than a decade.

Glass and debris still lay strewn about on the floor of the Al Qidiseen church where the dead and wounded fell after a suspected suicide bomber detonated explosives shortly after midnight Friday evening, killing 21 and wounding more than 90.

In the sanctuary, some sobbed as they followed the priest in chanting prayers and took communion. But when they emerged, along with wails of grief, there were cries of anger.

Worshipers, many of whom were present on Friday night, bitterly accused the government of failing to protect them. “Where is the government? Where is the security?” screamed one distraught man as others attempted to restrain him.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have long accused the government of discrimination and injustice, feelings that have only escalated this year. Officials are already working in overdrive to prevent the bombing from deepening the rising tension between Christians and Muslims. But the startling violence of the attack is also likely to exaggerate the growing distrust of and isolation from their government felt by Copts.

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