Blast inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral kills at least 25

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CAIRO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - An explosion inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people, most of them women, and injured 49, Egypt's state television said.

Security sources told Reuters that at least six children were among the dead.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, however, some supporters of the Islamic State militant group celebrated the attack on social media.

"God is great, God is great, God is great," one wrote on Telegram messenger.

"God bless the person who did this blessed act," wrote another, also on Telegram.

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Bomb attack at Cairo cathedral
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Bomb attack at Cairo cathedral
A nun reacts as Egyptian security forces (unseen) inspect the scene of a bomb explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church on December 11, 2016, in Cairo's Abbasiya neighbourhood. The blast killed at least 25 worshippers during Sunday mass inside the Cairo church near the seat of the Coptic pope who heads Egypt's Christian minority, state media said. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Egyptian Christian sits on a bench near a blood stain on a wall at the scene following a bombing inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral in Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Egyptian security officials and investigators inspect the scene following a bombing inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral in Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A clock damaged in a blast is seen inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral in Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian security officials and investigators inspect the scene following a bombing inside Cairo's Coptic cathedral in Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A picture shows the damage following a bomb explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church on December 11, 2016, in the Abbasiya neighbourhood in the Egyptian capital Cairo. The blast killed at least 25 worshippers during Sunday mass inside the Cairo church near the seat of the Coptic pope who heads Egypt's Christian minority, state media said. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Egyptian man sits at the scene of a bomb explosion that targeted the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church on December 11, 2016, in Cairo's Abbasiya neighbourhood. The blast killed at least 25 worshippers during Sunday mass inside the Cairo church near the seat of the Coptic pope who heads Egypt's Christian minority, state media said. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A relative of one of the blast victims screams at a police officer in front of St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Christian employee at Cairoâs Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A Muslim woman cries while sitting in front of police officers in front of St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
People stand near St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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A device containing about 12 kg (26 pounds) of the explosive TNT had denoted on the women's side of the cathedral, the security sources said.

"As soon as the priest called us to prepare for prayer, the explosion happened," Emad Shoukry, who was inside the cathedral when the blast took place, told Reuters.

"The explosion shook the place... The dust covered the hall and I was looking for the door, although I couldn't see anything... I managed to leave in the middle of screams and there were a lot of people thrown on the ground," he said.

Orthodox Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 90 million people, are the Middle East's biggest Christian community. They have long complained of discrimination under successive Egyptian leaders.

Islamists are waging an 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.

On Friday, two roadside bombs - one in Cairo and one north of the capital - killed six policemen and wounded six others.

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