Another deadly incident rocked Egypt when two bombings occurred on two churches during Palm Sunday Mass. The first blast occurred at St. George Church where over 27 people were killed and 78 others injured. After a few hours, another blast hit the front of St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing 11 and injuring 35, as reported by NBC News.
Amaq Media Agency, an ISIS affiliate, took responsibility for the said attacks as stated in their social media accounts. Coptic Pope Tawadros II had been leading the Palm Sunday service at St. Mark's Cathedral where the second bombing took place, but thankfully he wasn't harmed as he already left the cathedral before the attack happened.
Egypt's Christian minority has always been targeted by Islamic extremists, and the recent attacks were the most extreme they had following the Cairo church bombing last December. The second attack was apparently caused by a suicide bomber who blew himself up when security officers refused to let him enter the cathedral, according to Hindustan Times.
Pope Francis was scheduled to go to the country this coming April 28-29 to show support for the Christian minority residing in Egypt. After hearing the news, he offered his deepest condolences to the victims and asked the terrorists to stop. "Let us pray for the victims of the attack unfortunately carried out today," Pope Francis said. "May the Lord convert the heart of those who sow terror, violence and death and also the heart of those who make weapons and trade in them."
Deputy to Egypt's interior minister in charge of relations with the media, General Tarek Atiya, said that the first bombing in St. George Church occurred in the front rows near the altar during the mass. A witness who lives in front of the Tanta church also said that the aftermath was horrifying, the inside of the church was filled with dead people with only half of their bodies remained.
Palm Sunday was one of the most celebrated services in the Christian Community. Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned the attacks and offered their condolences to the victims. The president declared a state of emergency after the attacks.
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