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43 Killed, Over 100 Injured in Two Palm Sunday Bombings at 2 Coptic Christian Churches

Sun April 09 2017 9:51 pm
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ISIS has claimed responsibility for bombings at two Coptic churches in Egypt. CBS News’ Teri Okita joins CBSN with the latest details.

At least 43 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Coptic Christian churches.The blasts occurring at the beginning of Holy Week and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt. The ISIS terror group has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The first blast occurred inside the St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

Video inside of the church captured the seconds before the explosion and then showed the video disruption from the shock of the blast.

A second explosion occurred when a terrorist was asked to enter a metal detector outside St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria. The terrorist started to enter the metal detector enclosure, but then backed up and detonated the bomb. The explosion killed 16 and injured and 41. At least three police officers were killed in the St. Mark’s attack, which occurred just after Pope Tawadros II finished church services. Pope Tawadros II, who was not injured is leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency. ISIS recently published a video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as “infidels” empowering the West against Muslims.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi accused unnamed countries of fueling instability in the country, adding “Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations that tried to control Egypt.” El-Sisi ordered the immediate deployment of troops to assist police in protecting vital facilities across the country.

Egypt’s president also called for a three-month state of emergency Sunday, but did not immediately detail the legal measures needed to declare the state of emergency. According to the Egyptian constitution, a parliament majority must vote in favor of the state of emergency.

Multiple people were killed in an explosion as they celebrated Palm Sunday at a Coptic Christian church in Egypt. CNN’s Ben Wedeman has more.

Dozens gathered outside a church north of Cairo on Sunday, after a bombing killed 25 people and wounded another 71 inside, according to Egyptian officials.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said the blast at Saint Mark’s Church in Alexandria was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm the entrance before being stopped by police. (April 9)

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