The twin bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt on Psalm Sunday are expected to give fresh impetus to a two-day visit by Pope Francis later this month, partly aimed at showing solidarity with the country’s beleaguered Christian minority. A three-month state of emergency began on Monday at 1pm following the attacks in Alexandria and Tanta, which killed at least 47 people and injured more than 100. The bombings were the latest in a string of attacks on Copts in recent years. The measures, the first state of emergency since president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seized power in 2013, will increase the powers of Egyptian security forces.
Islamic State claimed two Egyptian suicide bombers were responsible for the blasts and threatened further attacks. Sisi warned that the war against Islamic extremists would be “long and painful”.
Amid angry claims of inadequate protection for Egypt’s Christian minority, Gharbia province’s head of security was sacked, according to state television.
“At the highest level, a lot of attention and care is given to this issue. But the problem is at the local security level,” said bishop Anba Angaelos, the head of the Coptic Orthodox church in the UK, speaking before Sunday’s bombings.(guardian)…[+]