French president condemns 'cowardly' Egypt attack

1st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned as a cowardly "terrorist" act a bomb attack that killed 21 people in an Egyptian church Saturday, in a letter of condolence to his Egyptian counterpart.

"It is with concern and great emotion that I learned of the terrorist attack which cost the lives of more than 20 people and wounded close to 100," Sarkozy wrote to President Hosni Mubarak after the New Year's Day attack.

The French leader said he condemned "without reservation this barbaric act".

"Knowing your indestructible respect for religious freedom, I know that under your authority, everything will be done to find and punish those responsible and the sponsors of this blind and cowardly crime," he wrote.

The attack outside a Coptic church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria is suspected to have been caused by a suicide bomber. It killed 21 people and wounded 79.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Al-Qaeda has called for punishment of Egypt's Copts over claims that two priests' wives they say had converted to Islam were being held by the church against their will.

"Nobody should be worried nor afraid for their life in exercising their fundamental right to freely practise their faith," Sarkozy wrote.

"Facing terrorism and extremism ... France will always be at your side," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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