President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has condemned in strong words the terrorist suicide bombings in two churches in Egypt this morning, and promised to keep on fighting terrorism and defeating its attempts to divide the country along religious lines. He ordered the armed forces to work with the police and security forces to maintain stability, and declared a three-day national mourning for the victims.
The first of the suicide bombings took place during Palm Sunday Mass at the church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in the mid-Delta town of Tanta, 100km north of Cairo. The last figures by the Health Ministry place the number of those who lost their lives at 30, and the injured at 56.
The suicide bomber broke into the church and rushed up to the deacon choir in front of the sanctuary where he blew himself up. Many of the victims were thus deacons and altar boys. A service will be held for them at 10pm this evening and they will be buried in a mass grave that has been prepared for them at the church.
The second suicide bombing took place at noon at St Mark’s cathedral in Alexandria after Palm SundayMass. Pope Tawadros II had been presiding over Mass at the cathedral. After Mass was over, a suicide bomber attempted to enter the cathedral but was stopped by the security guards who insisted he pass through the electronic gate upon which he detonated himself. The police officer who had tried to stop him, and two policemen lost their lives. They were among 16 who died of the explosion, while 41 were injured.
Until the evening, Copts gathered around St Mark’s boisterously protesting the terrorist attack.
President Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and Pope Tawadros are following the matter closely.
Interior Minister Magdy Abdul-Ghaffar has dismissed Gharbiya’s chief of criminal intelligence security General Ibrahim Abdul-Ghaffar and replaced him with General Ayman Sayed.
An explosion by a suicide bomber in al-Boutrossiya church in Cairo had on 11 December 2016 claimed 29 lives.
9 April 2017