Egypt: 43 killed in church bombings

10th Apr 2017
Egypt: 43 killed in church bombings

By Reia Mahmud

 

CAIRO (AA): At least 43 people were killed and 119 injured in two church bombings on Sunday claimed by Daesh terrorist group in Egypt as worshipers were marking Palm Sunday.

A Health Ministry statement said that an explosion struck inside St. George church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, killing at least 27 people and injuring 78.

Hours later, 16 people were killed and 41 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint outside St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria.

Egypt’s presidency has announced three days of mourning.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry said a bomber detonated himself after being prevented from breaking through the security cordon around the cathedral. It confirmed that four policemen were among those killed in the attack.

A source from the cathedral confirmed that Coptic Pope Tawadros II was inside the church when the bombing took place but he was unhurt.

Daesh terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Amaq news agency.

The bombings occurred on Palm Sunday, a Christian feast commemorating the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

Arab countries Sunday issued condemnations of two church bombings in Egypt which left scores of civilians killed and several more injured.

Saudi Arabia “firmly condemned” the two bombings, calling them “cowardly terrorist acts,” the official Saudi News Agency quoted a source at the Foreign Ministry as saying.

“These acts are contrary to religious principles and against all moral and humanitarian values,” he said, adding that “we extend our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Arab Republic of Egypt.”

Qatar also expressed its “strong condemnation” of the bombings, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

The ministry reiterated that “Qatar firmly opposes and rejects violence and terrorism regardless of its motives or reasons.”

“We express our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Egyptian people, and we wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
– Jordan and Bahrain

The kingdoms of Jordan and Bahrain also condemned the bombings.

King Abdullah II of Jordan sent a cable to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressing his “strong condemnation of this cowardly act,” according to a statement released by the Royal Court.

Abdullah also affirmed his country’s solidarity with Egypt in its efforts to fight terrorism and maintain the country’s security and stability.

For its part, the Bahraini Foreign Ministry confirmed “Bahrain’s solidarity with Egypt in the face of terrorism in all its forms,” according to a statement released by the ministry.

“We fully support all measures taken by Cairo to maintain its security and stability,” the statement read.

“This criminal act will never succeed in undermining the unity and steadfastness of Egyptian society,” it added, stressing that “the brotherly Egyptian people has been and will remain able to stay united to defeat terrorism and eliminate it totally.”
– Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the bombings and expressed “the Palestinian people’s solidarity with the Egyptian people, their leadership, and their army against the blind terror targeting Egypt and its prominent role in the region.”

Abbas, according to the Palestinian news agency (WAFA), expressed his condolences to “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, his people, his government, and the Coptic Pope Tawadros II and the families of victims which fell in these incidents.”

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.”

“We wish for Egypt and its people full security and stability,” the group said in a statement.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood also denounced deadly attacks in a statement, saying that they “condemn the painfully tragic explosions,” as they refuted “involvement of any kind in the shedding of blood.”

The statement urged that “indiscriminate repressive campaigns of violent persecution against opponents, will never help uncover facts, prevent crimes or achieve security for citizens.”

The group also said that “the blood of the innocent will be a curse on the oppressors, and that the end of this illegitimate, criminal regime is inevitable.”

In December, a bomb blast struck a church in central Cairo, killing more than 25 people and injured scores.

Coptic Christians are estimated to account for between 8 and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of about 90 million.

[Photo: People are seen at the damaged Saint George church after a bombing struck inside the church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, Egypt on April 9, 2017. At least 21 people were killed. Photographer: Muhabiri İbrahim Ramadan/AA]

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