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An explosion hit a church in Rafah, near the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, but the source and the scale of the blast were not immediately clear, witnesses said on Saturday.

Witnesses said they saw several armed men around the church but it was not clear whether they were involved. Smoke rose from the Mari Gerges church, which was empty of people, they added.

Egyptian officials had earlier blamed the Gaza-based Army of Islam for a New Year’s Day church bombing in Alexandria that killed 23 people. The group denied the charge. Reuters

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