During Palm Sunday services two of Egypt’s Coptic Christian churches were targeted by Daesh, killing 44 and injuring over 100.
The first bombing took place in Tanta, roughly 60 miles north of Cairo, the attack killed at least 27 people and injured 78. The second bomb detonated a just few hours later at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope. That blast killed 18 civilians and four police officers, and left 48 injured.
The attack came almost four months after 23 people were killed in a Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo. Copts, who make up at least 10 percent of Egypt’s 91 million residents, have been the target of increased discrimination and persecution in recent years.
Daesh has warned of targeting the Egyptian Christian community and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has now declared a three-month state of emergency in response to these attacks.
But while Daesh seek havoc and to exploit divisions in Egypt, Egyptians reacted differently. Following the news of the attacks, the Muslim community in the country showed support by gathering inside mosques to donate blood for victims. Coptic Egyptians have a long history of living side by side with Muslims in Egypt – and it seems these attacks have failed to undermine their unity.
The Grand Imam has also denounced the attacks as a ‘despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents’ – showing further solidarity with the victims.