At least 47 people were killed today and 100 wounded as ISIS bombers attacked two Coptic churches in Egypt, attacking worshipers who came out for Palm Sunday services. ISIS accused the “infidel” Christians of empowering Western intervention against Muslims.
The first of the bombings took place in the town of Tanta, where 27 were killed and 78 wounded. Officials say they are as yet unsure if the attack was a suicide bombing, or if someone simply planted an explosive at the site and left before it went off. One witness claimed a suicide bomber detonated in the front pews, and ISIS confirmed the man had a suicide vest.
The second attack was St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. The attacker in this case was definitely a suicide bomber, who tried to storm into the cathedral but was cornered by security and detonated his explosives before getting into the more crowded areas. He killed 16, including three police.
The St. Mark’s attack may have been an attempt to assassinate Pope Tawadros II, who had just finished services at the cathedral moments before the bomber struck. His aides reported to the media that he was unharmed in the incident.
Egypt has responded with a three month state of emergency declared by the military junta.