Egyptian Christian Churches Bombed, ISIS Claims Responsibility
*Warning: Graphic images contained which may be upsetting to viewers, discretion is advised.*
A Deadly Beginning to Holy Week.
The bombing of two Coptic churches in Egypt has left at least 43 dead and dozens more injured. The first was in the northern city of Tanta during the Palm Sunday service at St. George’s Church. The powerful blast killed 27 people and wounded 78. The figure were reported by state TV.
Shortly after, at least 16 people were killed and 41 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, according to multiple state-news outlets. State media also reported that the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was inside the cathedral at the time. He was not injured.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a statement after the deadly attacks.
“The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development,” the statement said. He ordered investigators to “hunt down the perpetrators” and “take all measures to offer the necessary care for the wounded.”
No stranger to hatred.
Christians in the area have long been the target of hate crimes by terrorist groups which have increased since 2011 when Hosni Mubarak was deposed. Just last December, another attack on a Coptic church left 25 people dead. Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million. Their theology is based on the teachings of the apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt.
Statements condemning the attacks and prayers for its victims have been pouring in from around the world, including most world and religious leaders.
With Egypt looking to strengthen their ties to countries like the United States, it is doubtful that such attacks will cease anytime soon.