#BBC: “Egypt’s Coptic churches hit by deadly blasts on Palm Sunday”


A coptic priest looks on at the damages as security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion inside Mar Girgis church in Tanta, 90km north of Cairo, EgypPicture copyright

Picture caption

The primary Palm Sunday explosion occurred in a church in Tanta

At the very least 31 individuals have died in Egypt after blasts focused Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday.

Six individuals have been killed when an explosion struck exterior St Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria, based on official sources.

Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Church, had been attending mass inside.

Twenty-five individuals had died in an earlier blast at St George’s Coptic church, within the metropolis of Tanta, about 130km (80 miles) south-east.

In response to state media, Pope Tawadros is unharmed. His secretary stated the assault in Alexandria was carried out by a suicide bomber who struck exterior the church.

After the primary explosion in Tanta, provincial governor Ahmad Deif advised the state-run Nile Information channel: “Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up.”

Common Tarek Atiya, a spokesperson at Egypt’s inside ministry, advised AFP information company that the blast in Tanta came about close to the altar.

A search is beneath method for any extra explosives which might be within the neighborhood.

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Media captionFootage reveals the scene following an explosion at a church in Tanta in northern Egypt

The blasts seem to have been timed for max impression, as individuals gathered to mark Palm Sunday.

Egyptian safety forces had been placed on alert in anticipation of assaults.

Pope Francis, who is because of go to Egypt later this month, has condemned the assault.

Violence towards Coptic Christians has risen lately, particularly since 2013, when the navy overthrew the elected president and launched a crackdown towards Islamists.

Some supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow.

In December final yr, 25 individuals died when a bomb exploded on the Coptic cathedral in Cairo throughout a service.

And in February, militants from the Islamic State group warned of extra assaults towards Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s inhabitants.

The explosion occurred as Coptic Christians have been celebrating Palm Sunday, one of many holiest days within the Christian calendar, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

On 1 April, an explosion exterior a police coaching centre in Tanta injured 16 individuals.

What’s the Coptic Christian religion?

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the primary Christian Church in Egypt. Whereas most Copts dwell in Egypt, the Church has about one million members exterior the nation.

Copts imagine that their Church dates again to round 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is claimed to have visited Egypt. Mark is considered the primary Pope of Alexandria – the top of their church.

This makes it one of many earliest Christian teams exterior the Holy Land.

The Church separated from different Christian denominations on the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) in a dispute over the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ.

The early Church suffered persecution beneath the Roman Empire, and there have been intermittent persecutions after Egypt turned a Muslim nation. Many imagine that continues to this present day.

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