Middle East Egypt declares state of emergency following church bombings

Egypt declares state of emergency following church bombings
An armed policeman secures the Coptic church bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt. (Photo: AFP)

CAIRO, Egypt (Kurdistan24) – Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency on Sunday after Islamic State (IS) explosions at two minority Coptic Christian Churches left over 45 people dead.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced the state of emergency on television following the deadly attacks.

Additionally, the Egyptian leader said a “top-level council for fighting terrorism and extremism [would] also be established,” according to Reuters.

In its initial response to the attack, the government ordered the military to help police secure major state facilities across the country.

IS claimed responsibility for the violence at two churches in the Tanta and Alexandria cities where worshippers observed Palm Sunday.

Security forces are reportedly ready and anticipating further attacks by the extremist group.

The first explosion occurred at the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in Tanta killing 27 people and injuring 78 others, Egypt’s health ministry reported.

Soon after, a suicide bomber targeted the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria where at least 18 people were killed, including police personnel, and 41 injured.

Meanwhile, Al-Azhar, the world’s largest representative of Sunni Islam, labeled the attacks an “outrageous crime.”

“This terrorist attack is devoid of all the principles of humanity and civilization,” the group said in a statement.

Moreover, the US Embassy in Egypt denounced “the heinous reprehensible terrorist attack against peaceful worshippers.”

“The US stands firmly with the Egyptian government and people to defeat terrorism,” the Embassy said in a statement.

The Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani also reacted to the violence and strongly condemned the “terrorist attack.”

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million population.