NEWS

Egypt Church Bombing Sees At Least 21 Killed At Coptic Christian Palm In Tanta

09/04/2017 2:21 PM IST | Updated 09/04/2017 5:37 PM IST

At least 21 people have been killed and 38 others wounded in a bombing of a church north of Cairo, an Egyptian official said.

The attack took place on the Coptic Christian Palm Sunday, when the church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was packed with worshippers. 

A second blast at a church in Alexandria killed six and wounded 66 Egypt’s Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday afternoon. 

The attack was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt’s Christian minority, which makes up around 10 percent of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists. It comes just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.

CBC showed footage from inside the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.

No one immediately claimed the attack, which comes a week before Easter.

A local Islamic State affiliate claimed a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo in December that killed around 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the restive Sinai Peninsula that caused hundreds of Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

A militant group called Liwa al-Thawra claimed responsibility for an April 1 bomb attack targeting a police training center in Tanta, which wounded 16 people. The group, believed to be linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, has mainly targeted security forces and distanced itself from attacks on Christians.

Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

Christians make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s population and have repeatedly been targeted by Islamic extremists.

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