Sunday, April 09, 2017

Egyptian Palm Sunday: 45+ killed

A bomb blast at a church north of Cairo killed 27+ people and wounded 100 or more who had gathered for Palm Sunday mass, state media reported, in the latest apparent attack on Egypt's Coptic Christians.

One of two known blasts struck at a Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 75 miles north of Cairo. The other in Alexandria killed 16+. Some sources claim at least 45 were killed as a total for both attacks.

Palm Sunday is one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem. It is celebrated by the Coptic Church, as well as in the West.

The state-run Nile television channel said the explosion struck inside the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in Tanta just before 10:00am (0800 GMT).

"Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up," provincial governor Ahmad Deif said, adding that security forces had searched the church and surrounding areas for additional explosive devices.

Tanta, in some languages, means "too much," "way too much."

There are reports of a second blast outside a church in Alexandria, also in Egypt, with at least 16 dead with 66 injured. In the Alexandria blast, a suicide bomber approached the church and detonated his vest after being stopped by police. Three officers died after they prevented the killer from getting into the church and causing greater bloodshed.

CCTV shows the fanatic, dressed in a blue pullover, approaching the gate at St Mark's in Alexandria but being told to go through the metal detector first by officers. He then passes a female police officer talking to another woman, and enters a metal detector before an explosion engulfs the area.

The atrocity, which followed another attack in Tanta, was thought to have been aimed at Pope Tawadros II, leader of the ancient Coptic church, who was worshipping in St Mark's at the time but escaped unharmed.

Now, it appears obvious, after the USA attack against Syria, American church bodies and other gatherings will be on high alert for potential Easter Sunday terrorist attacks.

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