by Dolapo Adelana
At least 44 people were killed on Sunday in bomb attacks at the cathedral of the Coptic Pope and another church in Egypt.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also injured more than 100 people.
According to the Ministry of Health, 27 people were killed and 78 injured in the first bomb which went off in Tanta, a Nile Delta city about 100 km (60 miles) north of Cairo, at St. George Church.
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The second bomb hit Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, in Alexandria, killing 17 people, including three police officers, and injuring 48, the ministry added.
Coptic Pope Tawadros had been leading the mass at Saint Mark’s Cathedral when the explosion occurred, but was not injured, the Interior Ministry said.
“These acts will not harm the unity and cohesion of the people,” he was later quoted as saying by state media.
Islamic State in a statement said, “Crusaders and their apostate allies should know the bill between us and them is very big and they will pay it with rivers of blood from their children, god willing. Wait for us, for we will wait for you.”
In a televised speech addressing the nation, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-month countrywide state of emergency.
“Deal with the issue with credibility, and responsibility and awareness,” he said of the media coverage. “It’s not right what I’m seeing being repeated on all of our channels, and you know this hurts Egyptians.”
“The attack…will only harden the determination (of the Egyptian people) to move forward on their trajectory to realise security, stability and comprehensive development,” Sisi said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump condemned the attack, expressing confidence in Sisi’s ability.
“So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly,” Trump wrote on his official Twitter account.