The Egyptian authorities investigating the recent bombing of a Christian church in Alexandria, which killed 21 worshippers, have stated the attack was carried out by a Palestinian Islamist group working out of Gaza. Details of the story can be found in the New York Times (Google it and you'll also find it reported from different angles cross various news outlets). Is it true? Quite possibly. Several observers suggest Egypt is simply trying to ease sectarian conflict in the wake of the attack, while the group has denied the story. But of some things we can be quite sure. For example, the Gaza-based group is definitely Islamist in nature, with links to the extremist Abu Qatada, currently imprisoned in the UK. The group belongs to the Dagmoush clan (a Hamas rival in Gaza), which operated in true mafia style. They held the BBC reporter Alan Johnson and participated in the kidnap of the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Meanwhile, the group has been linked with the attack on a Christian bookstore in Gaza. More details about the clan be found in a Spiegel report here and an early Guardian analysis here.
My point is simply this. There is a tiny number of Christians in Gaza who face considerable difficulties because of their faith, including several well-publicised cases of violence and death. It must be truly difficult for such Christians, not only hounded by Islamists but having to rely on policing provided by an equally Islamist organisation. Meanwhile, that someone can plant a bomb and kill 21 worshippers at a church service demonstrates all too clearly such persecution is very real in that part of the world, and Christians there must live in circumstances and face challenges to their faith many of us in freer countries can barely conceive. Pray for the Christians of Gaza.