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Explosion kills 7 at Egypt church

CAIRO — An explosion went off in front of a Coptic Christian church as worshippers emerged from a New Year's Mass in the Egyptian city of Alexandria early today, killing at least seven people, officials said.

After the blast, enraged Christians emerging from the church clashed with police and stormed a nearby mosque, prompting fights and volleys of stone throwing with Muslims, police and witnesses said.

Nearly 1,000 Christians were attending the Mass at the Saints Church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said a priest at the church, Father Mena Adel. The service had just ended, and worshippers were leaving the building when the blast went off, about a half-hour after midnight.

The blast came from a car parked outside the church, but police said they were still investigating whether the car had been rigged with explosives or if a bomb had been placed under it.

Japanese whalers attack conservation activists

SYDNEY — Japanese whalers shot water cannons at anti-whaling activists today, a conservationist group's founder claimed, hours after the activists tracked down the whaling fleet in the remote and icy seas off Antarctica.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is chasing the fleet in the hopes of interrupting Japan's annual whale hunt, which kills up to 1,000 whales a year. The two sides have clashed violently in the past.

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson was talking to the Associated Press by telephone today from his ship when he said the whalers suddenly began blasting one of his group's inflatable boats with a water cannon.

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