Dozens killed in bombings at Coptic churches; Islamic State claims responsibility

Apr 11, 2017, 00:20

State media said at least 27 people were killed and 78 others were injured when a bomb exploded last Palm Sunday at the main prayer hall of St. George's Church in Tanta, Egypt.

ALEXANDRIA/TANTA, Egypt, April 10 (Reuters) - Families of victims of Sunday's bombing at Alexandria's Coptic cathedral gathered at the Monastery of Saint Mina under heavy security on Monday as Egypt's cabinet approved a three-month state of emergency ahead of a scheduled trip by Pope Francis. Pope Francis was invited to visit Egypt by Coptic Catholic bishops during their ad limina visit at the Vatican Feb. 6, during which they also gave a report on the state of the Church in their country.

The bombings came on the Sunday before Easter, the day that marks the start of Holy Week for Christians. He failed to dismiss his minister of interior and other security chiefs for their incompetence, or to declare specific plans to combat hate speech and incitements by his Salafi allies that is at the root of these attacks. Yet, the Egyptian government is directly responsible for allowing the proliferation of hateful Islamic fundamentalist ideology that has infiltrated nearly every aspect of the Egyptian society and resulted in the thorough marginalization of Copts and made them second-class citizens in their own country.

"Leave, leave, Abdel Ghaffar!" mourners chanted.

Youth gathered at the Alexandria funeral shouted chants rarely heard in a country where protesting has effectively been outlawed and rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history.

At the scene of the Alexandria blast on Monday investigators combed through the wreckage, taking pictures of the debris.

A handful of black-clad women showed their identification papers to guards before being allowed to enter the church.

"I'm so sad, I can not speak", said one mourner, a woman in her 40s.

The state of emergency came into effect at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT).

A second blast took place shortly after outside of a Christian church in Alexandria, killing 17 and injuring another 35.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis sent his "deep condolences" to the Coptic church, the pope and the nation.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt after twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities on Sunday. He warned that the war against jihadists "will be long and painful" after he had ordered the army to protect "vital infrastructure" and increase security along Egypt's borders.

What Egypt needs, he said, are "fair trials, not emergency courts with no appeal, which is mainly what the latest declaration of a state of emergency will give him".

According to Hussein Hammouda, a retired Egyptian police brigadier-general, the attacks were meant to "punish the [Coptic Orthodox] Church for its support for the ruling regime, confuse Egypt's security apparatus, and respond to the army's ongoing [anti-militant] campaign in the Sinai Peninsula".

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were aimed at a vulnerable religious minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.

The blast in Egypt's second largest city, which killed 17 including 7 police officers, came hours after a bomb struck a Coptic church in Tanta, a nearby city in the Nile Delta, that took the lives of 28 and wounded almost 80.

The attack in Alexandria narrowly missed harming the Coptic Patriarch Pope Tawadros II, who was participating in Mass inside the church.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks and offered his condolences to Sisi, according to Russia's state-run Tass.

  • Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Egypt

    Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Egypt

    The president stated in his speech that Egypt has become secure and stable and has gained all of its democratic entitlement. The joint statement said Trump and Sisi agreed that Islamist militants could not be defeated exclusively by military force.

    Online gambling and betting increased over 1386% during past five years

    So in as much as stakeholders are heavily spending on ads, their audience is also responding very well to what they are offering. In addition to this, there’s a wide variety of games which the platform offers to cater for all types of gamers.
    Nascar eSports Future of Racing?

    Nascar eSports Future of Racing?

    Just like modern stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have made soccer all the more popular in the United States of America. Still unsure? The series has been shown online since 2010, and the demand to watch it shows the growth is likely to continue.
  • Westbrook ties triple-double mark; Thunder top Bucks 110-79

    Oklahoma City solidified its hold on the Western Conference's sixth seed, holding a 3 1/2-game lead over the Grizzlies. The Thunder, meanwhile, have Victor Oladipo and a bunch of no-name players backing up Westbrook.
    Cambridge ladies secure Boat Race joy after disastrous start for Oxford crew

    Cambridge ladies secure Boat Race joy after disastrous start for Oxford crew

    It was their fourth victory in the past five years although Cambridge still have an overall lead of 82-80. Finally, Cambridge have ended Oxford's four-year streak in the women's race .
    James Corden Has A 'Divas Riff-Off' With Demi Lovato

    James Corden Has A 'Divas Riff-Off' With Demi Lovato

    While James complimented his opponent on her stellar vocal range, Demi was less than kind about the host and actor's voice. Lovato brought out an a cappella group - Level - for the occasion, which meant Corden couldn't refuse the challenge.
  • Seattle mayor: Sex abuse allegations 'untrue'

    Mayor Murray's lawyer, Robert Sulkin, has also expressed his scepticism with the timing of DH's lawsuit. The Seattle Times also reports that neither Simpson nor Anderson were aware of the lawsuit by D.H.
    Sprint lowers unlimited to $50, kills tiered pricing options

    Sprint lowers unlimited to $50, kills tiered pricing options

    As things stand right now, subscribers of the AT&T Unlimited Plus Wi-Fi plan are entitled to unlimited data, talk time and text. Harry Wang, senior research director-Parks Associates, applauds the simplicity of Sprint's Unlimited offer.
    Games for real money and security in online casinos

    Games for real money and security in online casinos

    Usually, there are some doubts about the safety of online casinos since there are plenty of cheaters in the network. Software used in the online casino belongs to individual companies and not an own developments of casino owners.
  • Seyfeddin Roustamov.

    The annual revenue of Metafrax Group exceeded USD 660 million and the annual volume of investments amounted to USD 80 million. CHEMICAL ASSETS In 2014 Seyfeddin Roustamov became the major shareholder of the chemical company Metafrax (Perm region).
    Anchor reads breaking news of husband's death

    Anchor reads breaking news of husband's death

    This is exactly what happened with Surpreet Kaur, an Indian female news anchor for the channel IBC-24. "But we did not tell her". We express our heartfelt condolences to Supreet Kaur and salute her for the courage and professionalism that she showed.
    Android based VR Gaming Apps

    Android based VR Gaming Apps

    Cleanopolis VR This educational title is primarily for kids but it doesn't mean that people of all ages won't be able to enjoy it. House of Terror VR This game gives you the chance to explore a haunted house full of monsters, traps, and very hard puzzles.