A deadly blast at Tanta’s Mar Girgis Church killed and injured dozens as Egyptian Christians headed to churches across the country to celebrate Palm Sunday,according al-Ahram, an Egyptian newspaper.
Officials said a bomb has exploded in a Coptic church north of Cairo, killing at least 21 people and wounding 50 others.
The attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt’s Christian minority, which accounts for about 10% of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic militants .
CBC TV,, an Egyptian T.V. Channel , showed footage from inside the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless bodies covered with papers.
Magdi Awad, the head of the provincial ambulance service, confirmed the death toll.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes a week before Easter.
Last December, an Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo that killed about 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in Sinai Peninsula which have led to hundreds of Christians fleeing to safer areas of the country.
Moreover, on 1 April, a militant group called Liwa al-Thawra claimed responsibility for the bombing of a police training centre in Tanta that left 16 people injured.
Since the military coup in 2013 against Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, the country has struggled to combat a wave of violence and unrest in Cairo and especially in Northern Sinai as the Egyptian military and police forces have been the target of ongoing attack .
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the militant group responsible for a majority of attacks on military personnel, aligned with the Islamic State group in November 2014, changing its name to “Sinai Province”.
Sinai Province has targeted Egypt’s security forces in various attacks, mostly roadside bombings, and ambushes, as well as operations against security checkpoints.
However, recently the Islamic militants started to carry out more terrorist attacks against targeted Christians.
Last February,the Islamic State (IS) posted a video in which it threatened the Christians in Egypt and vowed to launch attacks against them, saying that “Cairo will soon be liberated”(from Christians).
The video showed Abu Abdullah Al-Masry, the man responsible for the deadly attack Coptic Cathedral bombing in Cairo in December.
In the new released video, a narrator described Christians as ISIS’s”favorite prey” and said that they do not enjoy the status of “dhimmis”, non-Muslims who were traditionally protected inside medieval Islamic empires.”
Instead, Christians are described as “infidels”.One of the jihadists featured in the video,”God gave orders to kill every infidel.”