Coptic Church Bombing– Barely a week after El-Sisi’s visit to the White House, 2 Coptic churches get bombed in Egypt.
On Palm Sunday, one of the significant celebrations in the Christian church’s Lenten calendar, the terrorist group detonated bombs in churches; killing dozens of Christians who had assembled for worship.
About 49 deaths have been recorded so far. Death toll could increase as 27 died instantly in the blast at St. George’s Church with 78 reportedly injured during the explosion.
It was discovered that an explosive device had been planted under a seat in the church. Witnesses said the bomb went off as the congregation was singing hymns after the sermon.
“We were just singing and suddenly in a blink of (an) eye, smoke, fire everywhere. I didn’t realize what’s happening until I saw blood and organs of our friends scattered over the ground,”
Most of the victims were priests and choristers.
In the second explosion, 18 civilians and 4 police officers were killed. A footage of the suspected suicide bomber milling around the church premises has been shown by the media. The suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Coptic church,
El-Sisi has ordered for a thorough investigation into the tragic event on Sunday.
Egyptian Christians are devastated. Citizens have also lamented that that the government has not visibly done anything to improve the security of the people even with the increasing attacks of the terrorists in the country.
Coptic Christians take up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million. Witnesses at the scene of the tragedy though grieving confess that they are fast getting used to terrorist attacks.
December last year, another Coptic church bombing killed 25 people.
Adding to the ongoing investigation, the Egyptian president has also declared 3 days of nationwide mourning, followed by a 3 month state of emergency in Egypt.
In the world over, ISIS groups often target large crowds to attack. They particularly have the signature of bombing churches especially on special days of worship. Most church attacks have occurred during festive seasons like Christmas. Some mosques have been attacked as well in certain areas.
Egypt’s National Defense Council had an emergency meeting to find the way forward in addressing religious extremism and terrorist attacks.
President El-Sisi expressed his condolence to the affected families and church members. Once again, he promised an improvement in the security system as well as a stronger fight against ISIS.
“We have to pay attention because of Egypt and Egypt’s future. We know this is a big sacrifice but we are capable of facing it,”
“The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development,”
The United States and Russia has sent in their condolence to Egypt. The Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in his tweet on Palm Sunday commiserated with all affected by the “evil” attack and urged Christians to pray for victims as the church approaches Easter.