State of emergency declared in Alexandria and Tanta, Egypt.
Around 44 people were killed in Egypt after explosions occurred at the Cathedral of the Coptic Pope and another Christian Church on Sunday. The incidents have aroused anger and instilled fear within the country’s Christian population and have even led to the deployment of security forces.
ISIS (Islamic State) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have taken place exactly a week prior to Easter and the Pope Francis’s visit to Egypt.The recent attack is only the latest among a series of attacks on Coptic Christians, who happen to be a religious minority in Egypt. Attacks on the community, by Islamic militants, have grown in recent years. They are also carried out as a challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had promised to protect the community during his campaign.
The first explosion is reported to have taken pace at Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, located about 60 miles from Cairo. The explosion is believed to have ripped through the St. George Church, while the Palm Sunday service was still on. This led to the death of around 27 people and injured another 78, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Health.
The second explosion occurred at Alexandria and was targeted at the Saint Mark’s Cathedral, which is believed to be the historic seat of the Coptic Pope. There were 17 deaths and 48 injuries reported. Among the dead were 3 police officers.
Coptic Pope Tawadros was conducting the service, when the explosion tool place. However, he survived without injuries. The Coptic Pope later went on to make a statement claiming that the acts would not destroy the cohesion and unity among the people.
ISIS claimed that the attacks were carried out by two of its members wearing suicide vests and even issued a warning of more attacks to come.
In their statement, the terrorist group mentions that crusaders and their apostate allies would have to pay a big debt and that it would be paid with the blood of their children.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has called for a three month state of emergency after discussing the issue with his National Security Chiefs.
Reports that at least 9 priests have died in the explosion at the Coptic church in Tanta, Egypt.
— COPTIC NATIONALISM (@DioscorusBoles) April 9, 2017
Videos of the explosion have been doing the rounds and show a choir singing at the Tanta church just before the attack took place. The singing can be heard turning into screams of panic and pain. According to state television reports, the explosives were placed under a pew.
H.A Hellyer of the Royal United Services believes that the anti-Christian sentiment among radical Islamists is virulent and there really is no way to protect everybody. He added that it was a true concern across most countries around the world.