Killed, Dozens Injured in Egypt Church Bombings

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency following the deadly attacks. Measures will likewise be taken to secure law enforcement on the country's territory, ensure the safety of public and private property, and protect lives of citizens.

"Islamic State squads carried out the attacks on two churches in Tanta and Alexandria", said the group's propaganda news agency "Amaq" on its social media accounts. The Islamic State terrorist organization has reportedly taken responsibility.

At least 44 people were killed in suicide bombings in Egypt as they gathered to mark the start of the holiest week on the Christian calendar. In December, a massive church bombing killed 30 people in Cairo, and a series of killings in the Sinai have caused hundreds to flee to safer areas.

Egypt's Christian minority, which makes up roughly 10 percent of the population, has increasingly been targeted by Islamist extremists. "We know this is a big sacrifice but we are capable of facing it", Sisi explained in a statement.

Egypt's Health Ministry says a bomb has struck a church north of Cairo, killing at least 13 people and wounding 25 others.

"The authorities have received warnings before that the church is being targeted", one person said.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by militants since 2013 when the military toppled president Mohammed Morsi, an elected leader who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, and launched a crackdown against Islamists.

Israel shut its Taba border crossing to Egypt after its anti-terrorism office warned of an "imminent" attack there.

President Trump tweeted about the terrorism saying that the US strongly condemns the attacks and that he is confident that President Al Sisi will handle the situation properly.

The blasts have come ahead of the visit of Pope Francis to Egypt on April 28-29, and prompted global condemnation. But for now, Egyptian Christians, for the second time in a few months, will spend their holidays mourning their dead ones rather than celebrating their festivities. The attacks came last than a week after Trump hosted el-Sissi at the White House and discussed fighting extremism.

  • Salvatore Jensen