Monday, 16 July, 2018

Egypt's Christians bury dead after IS church bombings

Nellie Chapman | 11 April, 2017, 01:43

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a state of emergency for three months following the attacks by the Islamic State group on two Coptic churches on Palm Sunday on April 9.

Mourners gather at funerals for Egypt church bomb victims as the president declares a three-month state of emergency. "Why weren't proper measures taken to protect people?"

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.

He said that a higher council for fighting terrorism and extremism will also be established. Members said any form of terrorism "constitutes one of the most serious threats to global peace and security".

Another deadly incident rocked Egypt when two bombings occurred on two churches during Palm Sunday Mass. The security forces have been put on alert in anticipation of more attacks, the media reported.

Becciu, who will travel to Egypt with the pontiff, described the bombings as an "attack on dialogue, on peace".

The first bomb exploded inside St George's Church in Tanta, killing at least 27 people and wounding 78, officials said, overturning pews, shattering windows and staining the whitewashed walls with blood.

Shortly after, St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, where Pope Tawadros II was giving a sermon, witnessed an explosion, killing at least 16 and injured 41 others. At least a dozen people were killed, and another 65 injured, in the latter attack.

Pope Francis will visit Egypt on April 28 and 29, just as it was planned earlier. There has been no report of any Singaporean affected by the attacks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

The members of the UN Security Council have condemned what they described as heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks that took place, during a Palm Sunday service in Northern Egypt.

He said it was becoming easier for Egyptian youths to get recruited by terrorist groups and there was frustration among young Egyptians that their problems were being ignored.

Copts make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's 92 million people, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.

Egypt's Christian minority has always been targeted by Islamic extremists, and the recent attacks were the most extreme they had following the Cairo church bombing last December.