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Egypt Attacked Twice on Palm Sunday

22 April 2017

The interior ministry identified the attacker has been identified as 40-year-old Mamdouh Amin Mohamed Baghdady, who lived in the upper Egyptian City of Qena.

The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.

At least 45 people were killed in two bombings targeting Egypt's Christian minority on Sunday - the first at St George's Church in Tanta, about 60 miles (100 kilometres) north of Cairo, followed by the explosion during Mass at Alexandria's Saint Mark's Cathedral.

The bombing in Alexandria was reportedly the work of Abu al-Bar al-Masri, who blew himself up near the doors of the church just as he passed through the metal detector.

This would likely be viewed as a win for Islamists because it would make them appear capable of driving out religious minorities despite facing the full force of Egyptian security forces.

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That October, nearly 30 people-mostly Coptic Christians-were killed after the army charged at a protest in Cairo to denounce the torching of a church in southern Egypt.

Decorations and the traditional handing out of candies to children by the Coptic Pope will also be cancelled, AFP reports.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian Parliament unanimously ratified the state of emergency that had been declared the prior evening by the cabinet of ministers of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

The President of the Republic expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of the people and Government of the Saharawi Republic to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the Egyptian people in this great loss, and solidarity and sympathy with the families of the victims.

A local Isis affiliate group claimed a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo in December that killed around 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the restive Sinai Peninsula that caused hundreds of Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

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Highlighting the many messages of sympathy he had received from around the world since yesterday's attacks, he said: "Prayer is the most important thing we can ask for at this time".

The attacks came only weeks before Pope Francis plans to visit Egypt to promote peace and dialogue between Christians and Muslims in the country.

A Muslim funeral was also held in El Behira province for one of the four policemen killed in the St Mark's attack.

El-Sissi has clamped down on opponents since he led the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013.

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Egypt Attacked Twice on Palm Sunday