A bomb attack against a church in east Cairo was averted thanks to the prompt action of a Muslim cleric, Imam Saad Askar (pictured) who called the police.
When the bomb squad tried to dismantle the devices, one exploded killing a bomb disposal expert.
Visiting the church afterwards, Imam Askar said: “We have to stand by each other’s side and take care of each other. Those who target places of worship have no religion and are neither Muslim nor Christian”.
According to AsiaNews, the incident took place at the end of the celebrations for Coptic Christmas at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Abu Seifin in Ezbat al-Haganah, Nasr City, an eastern suburb of the Egyptian capital.
Local sources told the outlet that Coptic Christians were celebrating their Christmas when a stranger with a suitcase approached the church. Sheikh Saad Askar, the imam of the mosque opposite the church, was conducting services when two of his students noticed the man and alerted him of the potential threat.
Together with mosque worker Gouda Shaaban Khalifa, 63, Askar ran after the man, but he fled the scene, leaving behind a trolley case. A video posted on social media shows the sheikh warning people in the church to quickly get away.