Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Egypt: 32 Killed in Egypt Church Bombings

Saul Franklin | 10 April, 2017, 02:33

The explosion ripped through the church at St. George's Church Sunday morning, only 50 miles from Cairo.

The mass at Saint Mark's was led by the Coptic pope, but a church official said he had left the church by the time the bombings took place.

A few hours later, a suicide bomber rushed toward St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, the historic seat of Christendom in Egypt, killing at least 17 people and wounding 48.

At least 78 people were wounded in Tanta and 40 in Alexandria, the health ministry said.

Egyptian officials denounced the violence as an attempt to sow divisions in the country, while Francis sent his "deep condolences" to Tawadros.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency, after the group recently released a video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as "infidels" empowering the West against Muslims.

There were bloodstains on the floor of the church in Tanta, next to shredded wooden benches. Regional Deputy Health Minister Mohammed Sharshar confirmed the toll.

"I came back and the area was covered in smoke". Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.

He is due to visit Egypt April 28-29.

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Islamic State said two of its fighters wearing suicide vests carried out the attacks, and it warned of more to come. No terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, although it is believed to be ISIS, which targets Egypt's Christian minority.

Last December, a Cairo Coptic church was attacked, leading to 25 deaths.

In February, hundreds of Christians fled Egypt's Sinai Peninsula after Islamic terrorists gunned down three Christians in the town of el-Arish.

And on Sunday, the group claimed responsibilty for both bombings.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister expressed his grief over the deadly development and joined other world leaders in condemning the attack. "There's no security", said a Christian woman in Tanta.

Egypt's Copts have endured successive attacks since Morsi's ouster in July 2013. Security forces later searched the church for other explosive devices, but found none.

President Abdul Fatah Sisi summoned the National Defense Council to an urgent session following the attacks, which he said "will only harden the determination (of the Egyptian people) to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development".

After the bombings, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered military deployments to guard "vital and important infrastructure", his office said.

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