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Churches in Minya will not celebrate Easter

21 April 2017

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks and identified the two attackers with names suggesting they were Egyptians. The blast in Egypt's second largest city, which killed 17 including 7 police officers, came hours after a bomb struck a Coptic church in Tanta, a nearby city in the Nile Delta, that took the lives of 28 and wounded almost 80.

The attacks at St. George's Church in Tanta and at St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria also wounded more than 125 worshippers, Morning Star News reported, making the bombings more deadly than the 2016 Christmas bombing at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in suburban Cairo.

Minya province has the highest Coptic Christian population in the country.

Following the blasts, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered troops be deployed across the country to help secure "vital facilities", according to a statement by his office.

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Egypt's state of emergency will come into effect at 1pm on Monday, the cabinet said.

The second struck outside Saint Mark's church, killing 17 people after the suicide bomber was prevented from entering the building.

The European Union expressed its honest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of Sunday's (9 April) attacks on the Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

In theory, it would allow for arrests without warrants, swifter prosecution of suspects, and special courts.

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A limited state of emergency and nightly curfew in the northern Sinai, which has been in place since 2014, has done little to stem the violence there. "ISIS are deeply sectarian, that's nothing new, but they have made a decision to re-emphasize that aspect in Egypt over the past few months", says H.A.Hellyer, a senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Royal United Services Institute. Security forces violently dispersed demonstrations in the months that followed, killing hundreds of protesters. Thousands were jailed, mainly Morsi supporters but also secular and liberal activists. "The status quo of media and press freedoms is ideal for the security authorities to work without much noise". The group, believed to be linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, has mainly targeted security forces and distanced itself from attacks on Christians.

The liberal Egyptian Social Democratic party said the state of emergency could make things worse.

"Terrorism increased in the presence of the state of emergency", said the party leader Mohammed Arafat. SOFTER CHRISTIAN TARGET In Tanta, where many families buried their dead on Sunday, members of the Coptic community expressed anger at the lack of security, saying that despite warnings of an attack, police had not stepped up efforts to protect them. What has the Coptic community said? The closure comes hours before the start of the Passover holiday.

Soon after the announcement, sirens wailed in parts of southern Israel alerting residents to a rocket attack.

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Churches in Minya will not celebrate Easter