Two explosive devices detonated on Sunday in separate Coptic churches in Alexandria and Tanta, Egypt, have killed at least 49 worshipers and injured over 100.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“Crusaders and their apostate allies should know the bill between us and them is very big and they will pay it with rivers of blood from their children, god willing. Wait for us, for we will wait for you,” read a statement released by ISIS.
The blasts occurred on Palm Sunday as churchgoers were observing the first day of Holy Week.
Authorities in Tanta say the first blast occurred at Coptic church of Mar Girgis (St. George) early Sunday when an explosive device believed to have been placed beneath a pew in the main section of the church detonated. Twenty-seven worshipers were killed and 78 have been injured.
Hours later in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, communicants at Saint Mark’s Church were jarred by the second explosion, which left 16 dead, including seven police officers.
Officials investigating the attack in Alexandria say the blast took place outside the structure as the suicide bomber attempted to gain entry to the church. Stopped by police officers, the bomber allegedly detonated the device, killing himself and bystanders.
Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, was presiding over mass at the time; he was uninjured.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared a state of emergency and ordered troop deployments across the country to secure “vital facilities.”
“The attack . . . will only harden the determination (of the Egyptian people) to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development,” Sisi said during a televised address.
Similarly, President Trump condemned the attack and declared that President al-Sisi would handle the matter appropriately.
[Reuters] [RT News] [Photo courtesy Stringer/AFP/Getty Images via thestar.com]