On one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday, two Coptic churches in Egypt were attacked by terrorists. (Coptic means Egyptian. Coptic Christians are Christians just like we are, except their rules are stricter than ours. They are orthodox.)
In the first attack (at the St. George’s Church in Tanta) an explosive planted under a seat in the church went off during a packed Palm Sunday service. The explosion killed 27 parishioners and wounded 78.
The second attack took place just outside of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. As the suicide bomber who attempted to enter the church was asked to pass through a metal detector, he opted to detonate the explosives on his body near the entrance to the church. At least 16 people were killed and 41 wounded. (According to reports, some Muslims have been accidental casualties of the attacks as well.)
Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared three days of national mourning following the bombings. (With many injured, the total death toll rose to 47 by early Monday, Egypt time.)
ISIS claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday attacks on Coptic churches. (According to ISIS the bombers were Egyptian nationals. The bombers nationality has not been officially confirmed by Egyptian authorities, as of yet.) In a statement, ISIS threatens more and even bloodier attacks to come. Egypt is about to declare a three-month state of emergency during which additional safety measures will be implemented.
Many world leaders – including President Trump and President Putin – condemned the Palm Sunday attacks. So did António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Cairo in April, expressed his grief.
(Christians are a minority in Egypt, they constitute about 10% of Egypt’s 91 million predominantly Muslim population. After the government of Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011, the attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt intensified. Physical violence against Christians, their churches, homes and businesses have been reported even before the latest attacks.)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed L.A.’s – and Anything L.A.’s feelings best:
“I am heartbroken for our friends in Egypt, where the forces of terror took their brutality to houses of worship on one of Christianity’s holiest days. We can only imagine their pain — and send prayers for peace, strength, and solidarity in the face of cruelty that holds nothing sacred and respects no boundaries. This is a moment of indescribable sorrow, but the triumph celebrated on Palm Sunday is a timely reminder that evil is no match for the love, friendship, and faith in the future that Los Angeles will always share with Egyptians and people around the world.”
May the good Lord protect our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters during the Holy Week and beyond!
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich