Church bids farewell to victims of terrorism

Relatives of victims react to coffins arriving to the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta

Relatives of victims react to coffins arriving to the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta

The death toll from the Sunday terrorist attack on the Mar Girgis Cathedral in Tanta increased to 29 after two people injured in the bombing died on Monday, according to Mohamed Sharshar, the deputy head of the health ministry in Gharbiya governorate, state news agency MENA reported.

After the bombings, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a period of mourning.

"We confirm our fundamental position of absolute condemnation of any terrorist attacks and once again state our support for resolute actions towards an uncompromising fight against terrorism taken by the Egyptian authorities", it added.

On Sunday, President Trump called Sisi from Air Force One to offer his condolences, a senior administration official told CNN. The group, which carried out a bombing at a Cairo church in December that killed 30 people, threatened more such violence, saying the blood of Christians would flow "like rivers".

The worshippers had been celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar. We heard voices telling us to leave quickly.

"Deacons were the first to run out of the church". Six deacons clad in white robes were also slain as they sang sacred hymns.

"Lots of bodies were torn apart and scattered on the floor", said an eye-witness who was standing on the church's altar when the bomb exploded.

Coptic churches and homes have been set on fire, members of the Coptic minority have been physically attacked, and their property has been looted, rights group Amnesty International reported in March. The mosque is considered among the most important in the city. The church had drawn an especially big crowd because Pope of Alexandria Tawadros II was leading prayers.

Despite heightened security detail around St. George's church, the suicide bomber managed to sneak past the security and a metal detector. The man enters the detector briefly, then takes a step back before the screen is filled with smoke.

Heartbreaking photos show mourners weeping over coffins of their loved ones during a memorial service at a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt.

Bishop Suriel, a Coptic Christian leader in Melbourne, Australia, told VOA that more needs to be done to increase security to protect Christians, as well as to combat terrorism that affects places all across the world.

In his statement on Palm Sunday, Bishop Angaelos said the Church in Egypt suffers with "our sisters and brothers" who have recently experienced loss from terrorism in London, Stockholm, and those who "continue to suffer on a daily basis across the Middle East". "All that we humans can do is to pray that God provides guidance to these people and enlightens their hearts and their minds".

ISIS warned of more attacks in its statement.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives an address Sunday on state TV.

In a statement, the government said the state of emergency went into effect at 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT).

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