At least 31 people died in Egypt after explosions targeted two Coptic churches as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, state media outlets reported.
A bomb hidden underneath a seat in the main prayer hall exploded at the Saint George Coptic church in the northern Egyptian city of Tanta and killed at least 25 people and injured at least 60 others, Egypt’s state-run Nile reported.
In the city of Alexandria, at least six people died and 33 others were wounded in a suicide bomb attack targeting the Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, where the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church Pope Tawadros II was during a ceremony, Egypt’s state-run al-Masriya TV reported. The Coptic leader was not harmed, officials said.
Egypt’s security forces were previously put on alert in anticipation for attacks. The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attacks on the Coptic churches. In February, the Islamic State warned of more attacks against Copts.
“Terrorism hits Egypt again, this time on Palm Sunday. Another obnoxious but failed attempt against all Egyptians,” Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement. “As we grieve the tragic and heartbreaking loss of Egyptian lives, it is still a failed attempt against our unity.”