Rabat - ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings of two Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.
Rabat – ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings of two Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.
At least 36 people have been killed in the bombings of two Coptic Christian churches on Sunday.
Eleven people died when a bomb exploded outside St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria. Leader of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was attending mass inside the church when the blast occurred but he is reported to be unhurt.
The other blast occurred when a bomb exploded near the altar of St. George’s Coptic Church in Tanta, located approximately 100 kilometres outside of Cairo. Over 130 people have been reported injured in both blasts.
An ISIS-run news agency has reported that “A group that belongs to Islamic State carried out the two attacks on the churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.” ISIS had recently released a video vowing to increase their terror campaign against Christians in the region, describing them as “infidels” aiding the West against Muslims.
The attacks come ahead of a scheduled visit from Pope Francis later this month. According to Reuters, they represent a shift in fundamental strategy within ISIS as it moves away from targeting soldiers and police officers to target Christian civilians.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail are expected to visit the area Sunday. Sisi has ordered an emergency meeting of the National Defense Council.
According to the same source, Christians in Egypt (Copts) have been regular targets of violence. Homes and churches have been burned. Earlier in April, Tanta was the site of another attack when a bomb exploded near a police training centre. One police officer was killed and 15 people were injured.