Faith

ISIS Targets the Faithful During Palm Sunday Mass

As Christians in Egypt began the holiest week of the year, violent Islamic radicals left two churches in ruins

The terror group has claimed the lives of dozens of Christian worshippers after its devastating bomb attacks on Palm Sunday morning hit two Egyptian churches.

At least 43 people were killed, Fox News reported, and more than 100 people were injured at Coptic churches.

“The timing of the attack raised the question of whether the bomber had sought to assassinate the pope.”

The first church bombing took place inside of St. George Church in Tanta; several hours later the second bombing happened at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. A suicide bomber set off the second attack, according to reports.

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“Egypt is home to around nine million Coptic Christians, who have seen attacks [on their people] increase in recent years,” the U.K.-based news company Sky News reported.

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Palm Sunday — the Sunday before Easter — celebrates the day Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. The ISIS attacks on Christians during this holy day on the Christian calendar reveals a clear persecution on the faithful who were attending Palm Sunday service at these Egyptian churches.

Related: Palm Sunday: Five Important Facts Worth Knowing

“ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency, following the group’s recent video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as ‘infidels’ empowering the West against Muslims,” Fox News reported.

The pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria — Pope Towadros II — was inside St. Mark’s Cathedral when the explosion happened, but allegedly was unharmed. “The timing of the attack raised the question of whether the bomber had sought to assassinate the pope, [the] leader of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities,” ABC News noted.

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is scheduled to visit Egypt in the coming weeks.

“The bombings added to fears that Islamic extremists who have long been battling security forces in the Sinai Peninsula are shifting their focus to civilians,” ABC News reported.

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