(Photo: Nariman El-Mofty/Chicago Tribune)
Sunday April 9, 2017 is now considered the deadliest day for Christians in the past 30 years. Many in Egypt were celebrating Palm Sunday as Christian tradition when suicide bombers hit two Coptic churches during services. The attacks left 44 people dead and 126 wounded.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which adds to fears that extremist groups are now targeting more civilians, such as Egypt’s minority Christians which make up about 10 percent of the country’s population. In response, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi claimed a three-month state of emergency, but it is important to note that Egyptian law requires the parliament’s vote to make the state of emergency official.
The first bombing was at St. George’s Church in Tanta and the second was a few hours later at St. Mark’s Cathedral in the city of Alexandria. Pope Tawadros, leader of the Coptic denomination of Christianity, had held services at St. Mark’s earlier in the day which raised suspicions that the attack was an assassination attempt as well.
As for important leaders chiming in, Pope Francis expressed "deep condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic church and all of the dear Egyptian nation." President El-Sissi stated that the attacks would serve to strengthen Egypt’s defense against “evil forces”. And President Trump tweeted “So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great . . . confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly.”
Alanna Shingler Staff Reporter