25 killed as explosions rock two Egyptian churches

Okechukwu Solomon April 09, 2017

It was a bloody Palm Sunday for Egypt’s Coptic Christians as 25 of them were bombed to death in two churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

About 50 people were reportedly injured, state television said on Sunday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The first explosive was planted under a seat at St. George (Mar Girgis) Coptic church, where it detonated in the main prayer hall.

A second explosion went off outside St Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria, killing at least two people.

Pope Tawdros II, head of the Coptic Church, had been attending mass inside.

The earlier blast targeted St George’s Coptic church in the city of Tanta, about 130km south-east.
Worshippers at a Coptic Church.

The attack came just one week before Coptic Easter and the same month as Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt.

“Terrorism hits Egypt again, this time on Palm Sunday. Another obnoxious but failed attempt against all Egyptians,” the foreign affairs ministry tweeted.

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the start of Holy Week for Christians.

CNN reported that Social media video showed crowds gathered outside the church shortly after the attack.

Copts face persecution and discrimination that has spiked since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.

Dozens have been killed in sectarian clashes.

In December, an attack at a Coptic church in Cairo killed 25 people.

“Coptic churches and homes have been set on fire, members of the Coptic minority have been physically attacked, and their property has been looted,” rights group Amnesty International reported in March.

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