Egypt's Christians bury dead after IS church bombings

20 April, 2017, 08:52 | Author: Ora Austin
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Mourners filled the Saint Mina monastery west of Alexandria Monday as they bade farewell to the victims of the deadliest attacks in recent memory on Egypt's Coptic Christian minority. The death toll climbed to 45 on Monday after person injured in bombing in Tanta died.

No one immediately claimed the attack, which comes a week before Easter. "The Crusaders and their apostate followers must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large, and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God is willing", the group said in Arabic.

Similar scenes took place a day earlier at a church in Tanta, where victims were laid to rest in a place of honor.

"The US stands firmly with the Egyptian government and people to defeat terrorism", the Embassy said in a statement.

Sisi ordered the armed forces to help police secure vital locations across the nation and declared a three-month state of emergency.

The country's parliament must now approve the move within seven days for the three-month initiative to remain in effect. Egyptian authorities have not confirmed the bombers' nationalities.

A bomb exploded in a church north of Cairo that was packed with Palm Sunday worshippers, killing at least 25 people and wounding 71 others, officials said. The bomb was planted under a seat in the main prayer hall, according to Egyptian state media.

"There was blood all over the floor and body parts scattered", an eyewitness told Reuters. "I don't know how this happened", she said.

A few hours later, a second attack outside St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria killed 18 civilians and four police officers, with a suicide bomber blowing himself up outside the cathedral.

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Egyptian state television broadcast footage from the church's security cameras that appears to show the suicide bomber outside the Alexandria cathedral. Citizens in Tanta told CNN they believe security is poor and demanded it be changed.

"Everyone is falling short.the government, the people. nothing is good". How can someone plant an explosive inside the church? "They don't want us to pray but we will pray", said Samira Adly, 53, whose neighbors were killed in the attack. She was 10 years old, according to BBC News.

"I'm shocked, I'm angry because we're used to this (violence) here in Egypt", he added. He later entered the sanctuary and saw a scene of devastation.

Copts have long complained of discrimination and sporadic attacks by extremists. Dozens have been killed in sectarian violence that has seen homes and churches set alight and bombed.

"It is true that violent attacks on churches will find no popular support in Egyptian society".

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Cairo this month.

The former army chief met with U.S. President Donald Trump a week ago at the White House, seeking closer ties and discussing the fight against extremism. Along with others, the Pope expressed his grief after the church attack.

Funerals have been held for a number of victims of Sunday's bombings targeting Egyptian Coptic churches that left at least 43 people dead and more than 100 injured.

The Palm Sunday attacks, the single deadliest day for Christians in decades, rattled the community and prompted messages of support from overseas, including from Pope Francis, who is to visit Egypt in the coming weeks, and President Donald Trump.


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