Nearly four dozen people were killed and over 100 more wounded after a pair of horrifying Coptic church bombings rocked Egypt on Palm Sunday, one of the most holy days to the country’s vulnerable Christian minority. Now, radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS has taken responsibility for committing the atrocity.
“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,” ISIS said in a statement released on Telegram in Arabic, identifying the bombers as radicalized Egyptian nationals.
The first bombing took place at St. George’s Church in the northern city of Tanta, where a Palm Sunday service was under way. An explosive device was placed underneath a seat in the main prayer hall, and the resulting explosion killed 27 congregants and injured 78 more.
Shortly thereafter, a suicide bomb attack was reported outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. Local news reports indicate that police officers stopped a man wearing an explosive belt from entering the church, essentially sacrificing their lives to protect worshipers. Still, 16 people were killed and 41 others wounded.
In response to the attack, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared three days of nationwide mourning. He also claimed that the government would form a supreme council to eradicate terrorism and extremism within the country.
“The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability, and comprehensive development,” el-Sisi said in a statement.