Egypt, and indeed the entire world ,was jolted last
Sunday April 1 when no fewer than 44 people were
killed and more than 100 more were injured in two
Palm Sunday suicide attacks on Coptic Christian
churches. Each of the attacks was reportedly carried
out by the ISIS terror group.
According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry officials, last Sunday’s
first blast occurred at St. George Church in the Nile Delta
town of Tanta, where no fewer than 27 people were killed and
78 others wounded. Television footages showed the inside of
the church, where a large number of people gathered around
what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with
papers.
The attack in Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on
Egypt’s Christian minority, which makes up about 10 percent
of the country’s population and has been repeatedly targeted
by Islamic extremists.
A second explosion, which Egypt’s Interior Ministry said
was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark’s
Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, left at least 17 dead,
and 48 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros
II , leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria ,
finished the Palm Sunday services, but reports had it that he
was unharmed. That was not all as the casualty extended to
security men.
According to the Ministry of Interior no fewer than three
police officers were killed in the St. Mark’s attack.ISIS, a
foremost terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for the
attacks via its Aamaq media agency, and it came following
the group’s recent video where it vowed to step up attacks
against Christians, whom the group describes as “infidels”
empowering the West against Muslims.
The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to
Easter, and it came just weeks before Pope Francis was due
to visit Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country. The
deadly attacks have continued to elicit condemnation from
the entire peace-loving world. Reacting to the development,
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi accused unnamed
countries of fueling instability in his country. He said his
government will not relent in its efforts to crush terrorism
and those behind the attacks in particular. US President,
Donald Trump equally condemned the attack and said he
was “so sad to hear of the terrorist attack” against the US ally
but added that he has “great confidence” that el-Sissi, “will
handle the situation properly.” The two leaders however met
at the White House on April 3 to discuss bilateral issues.
The State Department in a statement issued by Mark Toner,
described the attacks as “barbaric.”
“The United States will continue to support Egypt’s security
and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism,” the statement
said.
.It added: “The United States condemns in the strongest
terms, the barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship in
Tanta and Alexandria that killed dozens of innocent people
and injured many more on this holy day of Palm Sunday.
Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar
, the leading centre of learning in Sunni Islam equally
condemned the attacks, calling them a “despicable terrorist
bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.”
.Pope Francis decried the bombings, expressing “deep
condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic
church and the entire dear Egyptian nation.” Word of the
attacks came as Francis was holding Palm Sunday services in
St. Peter’s Square.
Both Israel and the Islamic Hamas Movement ruling
neighbouring Gaza also condemned the bombings. Turkey’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs also published a statement
denouncing the attack on St. George Church.
Nigeria was not left out in condemning the terror attack.
The federal government condemned the terrorist attacks
on the two Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria Egypt
on Palm Sunday that left at least 44 dead.The government
also denounced the terrorist bombing in St Petersburg train
carriage in Russia on April 3, 2017 that killed 14 people and
wounded 50.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement
by its spokesperson, Clement Aduku, said though the
terrorist attacks had sadly become a recurring nightmare in
the global community, the world must not relent in effort to
stop perpetrators.
Nigeria, the statement said, stands in solidarity with both
Russia and Egypt at this tragic moment.
“As a country that experienced terrorists attacks in recent
times, we condemn such callous and cowardly acts against
innocent people,” it said. “In this regard, the Nigerian people
stand in solidarity with our Egyptian brothers and sisters to
denounce these terrorists, who seek to destroy our common
human values and civilisation. We therefore share in your
grief,” it added. While commending the rest of the world for
rising in unison to condemn the terror attacks in Egypt, we
equally join the global community to condemn the killings
in Egypt as barbaric, uncivilized and cowardly. With Nigeria
virtually winning the war against terror in the guise of Boko
Haram at home, it could share its knowledge in tackling the
security challenge posed by terrorists with Egypt and others
in need. Information is no doubt key in battling this evil to a
logical end.


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