Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Egypt's parliament approves three-month state of emergency

Pope Tawadros II leads Good Friday mass at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on 14 April 2017 Pope Tawadros II leads Good Friday mass at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on 14 April 2017
Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 06:21

The Coptic Church said yesterday it would cut back Easter celebrations to a single mass after the bombings.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed the Sunday attacks, which killed 45 people and followed a Dec 11 suicide bombing that killed 29 in a Cairo church.

Islamic State's branch in Egypt has stepped up attacks and threats against Christians, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt's 90 million people and are the biggest Christian minority in the Middle East.

The government ordered a three-month state of emergency which was unanimously approved by parliament on Tuesday.

Now he has declared a three-month "state of emergency" although it's unclear how much more power he could assume for himself that he doesn't already have.

The attack, targeted on people and institutions from the religious faith, are a challenge to the country's social order. At least 27 people died in a blast inside a church in the northern city of Tanta, and 78 people were injured, Egypt's state-run news agency, Al-Ahram said.

Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected Islamic State militants in a shootout on Monday as they were meeting to plan attacks on minority Christians, the Interior Ministry said.

"In addition to that, this act also breached other taboos as its includes some betrayal, treason, attack, aggression, heinous guilt and terrifying of innocents, all considered unacceptable ugly acts, which the prophet (pbuh) was rejecting", said the secretariat.

At St Mark's in Alexandria, at night the bodies were brought in wooden coffins decorated with golden crosses to the church yard where hundreds of sad and angry Copts gathered and a priest was saying prayers.

Pope Francis will visit the Sunni institution in late April during his apostolic visit to Egypt.

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A Muslim funeral was also held in El Behira province for one of the four policemen killed in the St Mark's attack.

The first bombing attack took place in the morning at St. George's Church in Tanta, which is located north of Cairo. "It's the mindset of people who hear these terrorists and fundamentalists, and they very much sympathise with them", Father Rafic Greich, a Greek Melkite priest in Cairo and spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, told Crux news.