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Egypt’s Sisi Attends Coptic Christian Christmas Celebrations amid Tight Security

Egypt’s Sisi Attends Coptic Christian Christmas Celebrations amid Tight Security

Sunday, 7 January, 2018 - 06:15
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi greets faithful at the new Coptic Cathedral in the new administrative capital, 45km east of Cairo, Egypt, January 6, 2018. (Reuters)

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, a number of ministers, lawmakers and ambassadors attended midnight mass, led by head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, in the cathedral of Egypt’s new administrative capital on Saturday.

The new Egyptian capital, announced in March 2015, is intended partly to reduce crowding in Cairo.

Some 45 km (28 miles) east of Cairo, the city, which has not yet been given a name, will be home to government ministries, housing and an airport.

The mass, on the eve of Coptic Christmas which is celebrated on January 7, was the first to be held in the newly-built cathedral and took place amid tight security. Sisi was cheered by worshipers as he entered the building.

The celebrations were held days after attacks on a Coptic church and another Christian-owned shop that left more than 10 people dead.

The mass was held amid tight security measures.

The armed forces issued a statement on Saturday, saying that security was reinforced at various places of worship in order to allow Christians to celebrate Christmas and prevent attempts to undermine Egyptian national unity.

For his part, Sisi congratulated the Copts on the occasion, saying before the gatherers at the cathedral that good and those seeking peace will defeat those seeking evil and destruction.

“The Egyptian people are of one fabric, bringing together both Muslims and Christians,” he stressed.

“No one can possibly drive a wedge between us,” he declared.

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