Egypt: Islamic State fans flame of sectarianism

14 April, 2017, 10:45 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Palm Sunday church bombings kill 36 in Egypt

In a show of solidarity after the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, Muslim men and women rushed to mosques in Tanta to donate blood for those injured in the blasts.

Sunday's Alexandria bombing was especially concerning for the Coptic community, as Pope Tawadros II had led a Palm Sunday service at Saint Mark's but left before the explosion.

"The Catholic Church in India also shares and reiterates the expression of profound grief of His Holiness, Pope Francis, following the Church attacks", Bishop Mascarenhas wrote.

Lawmakers said the state of emergency - Egypt's first since widespread unrest in 2013 - would help the country face down a menacing extremist insurgency.

"President Trump condemned the attacks that killed and injured dozens of Egyptians". ISIS's news agency Amaq stated: "A group that belongs to Islamic State carried out the two attacks on the churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria".

Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch said el-Sissi "seems to think that more repression of all Egyptians is the simple answer to terrorist attacks". Another massive bombing in 2016 killed at least 25 people inside a Cairo church during Sunday mass.

According to Hungarian wire service MTI, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sent his condolences to Egyptian political and religious leaders in the aftermath of the attacks.

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In a rare move, Sisi also deployed troops to assist police in securing key locations amid calls for national unity.

Israel meanwhile closed its Taba border crossing to Egypt after its anti-terrorism office warned of an "imminent" attack there, underlining fears of more violence.

"We won't see a change on the ground, as this decision wasn't taken to give more powers or tighten control", said political analyst Yasser Abdel-Aziz.

The blasts came weeks before an expected visit by Pope Francis meant to show support for the country's Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt's population and have long complained of being vulnerable and marginalised.

Some have since taken to social media networks in condemning the attacks.

Vatican City: Pope Francis will visit Egypt as planned this month despite the weekend bombings, Monsignor Angelo Becciu said, adding, "There is no doubt the Holy Father will maintain his offer to go to Egypt" on April 28 and 29.

According to the Reuters report, Coptic Christians have been in Egypt since the days of ancient Rome.

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