At least 25 people died and 35 more were injured in an explosion outside St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Rady said Sunday.
Speaking on CBC Extra news channel, Rady said the bomber targeted the right wing of the church, which is reserved for female worshippers. The majority of those killed during the Sunday prayer service were women and children, he said.
A source in the country's Interior Ministry told RIA Novosti that the explosive material TNT was used to create the bomb.
"A high-power explosive device containing TNT detonated," the source said.
The news website Sada El-Balad cited a source in the investigation team as saying an unknown attacker threw a bomb inside the cathedral during a prayer service.
Watch: a video showing the explosion from a distance.
A dozen of ambulances arrived at the scene of the explosion.
There has been no claim of responsibility yet.
Earlier reports cited Egypt's Ministry of Health saying that five people died in the explosion and ten more were injured.
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St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia district serves as the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope.
Watch: a video recorded from the Cathedral right after the explosion.
Copts are a large ethnic and religious minority in Egypt, making up between 6 and 10 percent of the population.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry has stepped up security at places of worship across the country, a source in the ministry told RIA Novosti. There are 163 Coptic churches in Cairo alone.