Relatives and onlookers gather outside a church after a bomb attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, Egypt. (AP)

ISIS claims responsibility for church bombings in Egypt, killing dozens on Palm Sunday

The Islamic State has taken responsibility for Coptic church bombings in Egypt that killed dozens


Charlie May
April 9, 2017 5:33PM (UTC)

ISIS has claimed responsibility for two church bombings in Egypt on Sunday that killed at least 36 people and injured more than 100. One of the explosions took place during a Palm Sunday service at a Coptic church in the city of Tanta, north of the capital, Cairo. The bomb was placed under a set inside the church's main prayer hall, and killed 26 people and injured over 50, according to CNN. The second attack took place in Alexandria, outside of Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. At least 11 were killed in the suicide bomb attack, leaving at least 35 others wounded.

CNN reports:

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Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the start of Holy Week for Christians. Nile and Masriya TV, Egyptian state outlets, aired black banners in the upper left of its newscasts to signify mourning for the victims of both explosions.

In Tanta, news footage shows people gathered at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switches to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.

"Everything is destroyed inside the church" and blood can be seen on marble pillars, said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the carnage.
It appeared the explosive device was placed near the altar, he said. Priests and the church choir were among the casualties.

The attack comes only days after President Donald Trump met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Washington, where Trump expressed staunch support for Cairo. They discussed combatting terrorism, where Trump noted they "agree on so many things."

"We will fight terrorism and other things. We’re going to be friends for a long long period of time. We have a great bond with the people of Egypt," Trump added about the meeting, according to USA Today.

Religious leaders from across the globe denounced the attack in Tanta. Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Cairo next month, is expected to meet with a numerous religious leaders including the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. After the attack on Sunday, he condemned the actions of ISIS.
"To my dear brother his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to the Coptic church and to all of the dear country Egypt, I express my deep condolences, I prayed for the dead and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the entire community. God convert the hearts of the people who spread terror, violence and dead, and also the heart of who produces and traffic weapons," the Pope said, according to CNN.

Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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