Egypt rocked by double church bombing in separate cities on Palm Sunday

Egypt rocked by double church bombing in separate cities on Palm Sunday
A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion killed at least 21 in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
4 years ago

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SULAIMANI – Over 30 people were killed and scores wounded after two separate Islamic State (ISIS) bomb attacks targeted worshipers in Egypt’s Tanta and the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Palm Sunday.

At least 25 people were killed and another 60 injured in a bomb attack on Coptic Christians at Mari Girgis church in the city of Tanta, north of Cairo, on Sunday (April 9).

NRT reporter at the scene in Tanta, Sangar Saidqadr, said an initial investigation showed that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device, adding that the investigation by Egyptian security forces is ongoing.

Shortly after the first attack, a second Coptic church was targeted in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, when a suicide bomber attempted to enter a packed church before being stopped by an officer stationed outside the church. At least 11 people have been killed in the attack.

Coptic Christians in both cities, and throughout Egypt, were gathered to celebrate Palm Sunday, a celebration that falls on the Sunday before Easter to mark the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

The ISIS attacks come just one week before Coptic Easter and the same month that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt.

Islamic State's (ISIS) branch in Egypt appears to be stepping up attacks on Christians and threatening them in messages blasted out to followers. An ISIS suicide bombing in December last year at Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral left 25 dead and many others wounded.

Egypt's Christian community has felt increasingly insecure since ISIS spread through Iraq and Syria in 2014, ruthlessly targeting religious minorities. In 2015, 21 Egyptian Christians working in Libya were killed by ISIS.