A timeline of recent attacks on Egypt's Christians

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the cause of the blast was not yet known.

A bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo claimed by IS kills 30 people and injuries dozens during Sunday Mass in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory.

In a written statement after Sunday's attack, Hollande says "one more time, Egypt is hit by terrorists who want to destroy its unity and its diversity".

According to local media reports, the Islamic State jihadist group (IS, outlawed in Russia) claimed responsibility for the attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt.

July 2016: Pope Tawadros II says that since 2013 there were 37 sectarian attacks on Christians in Egypt, almost one incident a month.

The worshipers had been celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem.

Palestinian group Hamas also condemned the church bombings, describing them as "a crime that targeted houses of worship, and killed and injured scores of innocent civilians".

Copts often suffer attacks in more rural areas of Egypt, usually over things such as the construction of a church or inter-faith relationships.

"This is an impious terrorist act, but we will eradicate terrorism from Egypt and we are determined to put an end to terrorist groups", EFE news quoted Ismail as saying.

Islamic State's branch in Egypt appears to be stepping up attacks and threats against Christians, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt's 90 million people and amount to the biggest Christian minority in the Middle East. The blast wounded at least 100 and killed 38.

A few months earlier, the unclaimed New Year's Day bombing of a Coptic church killed more than 20 people in second city Alexandria. At least three police officers were killed preventing the suicide bomber from entering the cathedral, Ahram Online reported. "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. The death toll in Tanta was at least 27, the Interior Ministry reported.

At the end of today Angelus prayer and before thousands of followers at the St. Peter Plaza, Pope Francis said that he prayed for fatalities and injured people, while expressing solidarity with relatives and the whole community.

Alexandria sits on the Mediterranean and has a large Christian population.

  • Zachary Reyes