Two Islamic State (IS) attacks on Egyptian Coptic Christian churches in the last 24 hours have injured more than 50 and killed at least 43.
Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency. The first attack occurred in the northern Egyptian city of Tanta, with the second attack on the city of Alexandria.
The Christian Copts are the repeated victims of these terrorist attacks based in Egypt.
IS laid claim to the attacks. There is a known tension between Christians and Muslims within the country. Christians account for about 10% of the population.
The total population for Egypt is about 94 million people. Copts make up 10% of the population.
The tensions appear to be in isolated rural communities. However, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated that the Islamist attacks have been on the Copts. The president has been emphasising that there is a need for continued unity of the religions within the country.
There have been other attacks such as in 2010 and 2011. “In a severe bombing of a church in December, nearly 30 people had been killed. At that time, the terrorism “Islamic State” (IS) confessed to the act.” Süddeutschen Zeitung said.
Süddeutschen Zeitung stated, “As the first Egyptian head of state, Egypt’s President visited the Coptic Christmas festival in January. In 2010, six Copts were killed during an attack by Islamists on a Christmas festival in the Egyptian Naj Hammadi; On New Year’s Day 2011, 23 people died in a bomb attack on a church in Alexandria.”
The end of April will see the visit of the Roman Catholic Pope Francis in Cairo, Egypt. It has been announced officially. He expresses solidarity with the Egyptian Copts.