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Egypt church attacks: Congregations 'won't celebrate Easter' after twin Palm Sunday bombings

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Egyptians gather behind a security perimeter near the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria after a bomb blast struck outside the church as worshippers attended Palm Sunday mass on April 9, 2017.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed the Sunday attacks, which killed 45 people and followed a Dec 11 suicide bombing that killed 29 in a Cairo church.

Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency after the bombings and called on the army to protect "vital" installations around the country.

The bishop said the representative of Egypt security he met advised the state and the people cooperate to improve protection at churches.

The President of the Republic expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of the people and Government of the Saharawi Republic to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the Egyptian people in this great loss, and solidarity and sympathy with the families of the victims.

Should the Islamic State continue its attacks more Coptic Christians might flee Egypt to avoid being targeted.

Egypt's Ministry of Interior announced on Wednesday the identity of the Alexandria church bomber, saying that he belongs to the same terrorist cell that carried out the December bombing of a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main cathedral.

The first explosion is reported to have taken pace at Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, located about 60 miles from Cairo.

Egypt's president has picked three former leaders at state news organizations during the era of deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak to lead new media watchdog agencies, part of measures to tighten his control over the country following a pair of horrific Islamic State church bombings last weekend.

Highlighting the many messages of sympathy he had received from around the world since yesterday's attacks, he said: "Prayer is the most important thing we can ask for at this time".

The ministry's statement added that Baghdadi was also involved in an attack in January on a police checkpoint in the New Valley that killed eight policemen.

Even though his aunt was Muslim, Fathi said she would sometimes say her prayers at the church. "Muslims and Christians are one".

That October, nearly 30 people-mostly Coptic Christians-were killed after the army charged at a protest in Cairo to denounce the torching of a church in southern Egypt.

Pope Francis will visit the Sunni institution in late April during his apostolic visit to Egypt.

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