Middle East and North Africa

Over 30 Killed in Palm Sunday attack in Egypt

Over 30 have been killed in a Palm Sunday terror attack in Egypt on Palm Sunday. Hours later so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the latest attack on Coptic churches in Egypt.

The first explosion hit St. George’s Church during a Mass at about 9.30 am. The Church is located in the Nile delta city of Tanta, 50 miles north of Cairo. Eye witness accounts on circulating on social media say the bomb detonated in the pews near the front of the church, killing many children.

A second explosion hit the main Coptic church in Alexandria, St. Mark’s. where the Palm Sunday mass had just ended, reports say, at least two people were killed. Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Church, was in the mass.

The deputy minister of health had put the death toll at 21 but as developments unfold the death toll has been rising by the hour.

The attack came about a week before Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to Egypt. The Pontiff, reacting to the attack, said, “We pray for the victims of the attack carried out today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church,” and expressed his “deep condolences” to the church and the Egyptian nation.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said, “As we come to Easter, pray for victims, the justice of the cross, hope and healing of resurrection.”  in a post on Twitter.