Egypt church blast death toll rises to 23

The death toll from a New Year's Day bombing outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria has risen by two to 23, the official news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

Dozens of people were wounded when a presumed suicide bomber detonated a device during a midnight service.

No clear official account has emerged of how the attack was carried out but analysts point to a small cell, not a larger militant group like those behind an Islamist insurgency that flared more than a decade ago.

Billionaire Naguib Sawiris, chairman of one of Egypt's biggest listed companies Orascom Telecom, has offered 1 million Egyptian pounds ($172,500) for information on those behind the Jan. 1 attack, a state newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Dutch anti-terror agency NCTb has urged police to keep  an eye on Coptic churches in three Dutch cities after they were included in Internet threats against Coptic churches in Europe, including France and Britain.

The bombing sparked angry protests and some clashes with police in Alexandria and the capital Cairo by young Christians calling for more protection from the authorities.

Christians account for about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 79 million, which is mostly Muslim. Sectarian violence is rare but disputes on issues from church building to religious conversions and divorce have grown in the last year.

Early last year, a drive-by shooting of six Christians and a Muslim policeman at a church in southern Egypt sparked protests.

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