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On Palm Sunday, Islamic Extremists attacked to churches in two separate cities during services. At least 45 were found dead.
Per CNN, “The Sunday strikes, which targeted Egypt’s persecuted and vulnerable Christian minority on the first day of the faith’s Holy Week leading up to Easter, left at least 45 dead, Egypt’s health ministry said Monday.”
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks. At the time, it was a month before the Pope visited Egypt.
Reuters reports, “Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also injured more than 100 people and occurred a week before Coptic Easter, with Pope Francis scheduled to visit Egypt later this month.”
One of the churches was at Saint Mark’s Church in Alexandria, where the Coptic Pope Tawadros II was leading.
Al Jazeera explains, “Several hours after the bombing in Tanta, another explosion hit in front of Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria, where Coptic Pope Tawadros II was leading a service.”
ISIS warned the Copts of Egypt, that there would be more attacks on Christians in Egypt.
CNN states, ‘ISIS, which claimed responsibility, warned of more attacks in a statement. “The Crusaders and their apostate followers must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large, and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God is willing,’ the group said in Arabic.”
President Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency which was subject to approval from Parliament. He also asked for the press to have positive media coverage on the event and for the nation to unite.
Per Reuters, “In a televised speech addressing the nation, Sisi declared a three-month countrywide state of emergency, subject to parliamentary approval, and called for national unity and urged the media to refrain from coverage that could be harmful.”
Two police officers who were killed in a suicide bombing were praised by the state media for not allowing the suicide bomber inside St. Mark’s Church where the Coptic Pope was.
Al Jazeera reports, “Egypt’s state media said at least 16 people, including seven police officers, were killed in the suicide bomb attack.”
The Presbyterian Church USA works in Egypt to share Christ’s hope to those who don’t know the Lord. After the Arab Spring situation, people became disillusioned and wanted to know more about Christ’s hope.
The Presbyterian Church explains, “The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt —the church that our missionaries planted more than 150 years ago—is seizing this opportunity by actively reaching out to communities and meeting people’s needs.”
Pray for the Coptic Christians to continue to be bold. Pray for wisdom for the government to know how to respond to the bombings. Pray for many to come to know Christ’s hope in Egypt.
CNN: Egypt Cabinet OKs state of emergency after Palm Sunday church bombings
Reuters: Palm Sunday bombings of Egyptian Coptic churches kill 44
Al Jazeera: Deadly blasts hit Coptic churches in Tanta, Alexandria
Presbyterian Church USA: Egypt