Update: The death toll rises to 44 and 126 wounded. PHOTOS: Suicide bombers kill 44 at Palm Sunday services in Egypt
(CNN) – Bombs targeted two Coptic churches in Egypt as the Christian faithful observed Palm Sunday, one of the most important days on the religion’s calendar.
A powerful blast rippled through a Palm Sunday service at a Coptic Christian church in the northern Egypian city of Tanta, killing 25 people and wounding 60 others, state TV reported. The explosive device at St. George Coptic church in Tanta was planted under a seat in the church, where it detonated in the main prayer hall, it said.
At least 11 have been killed and 35 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside the Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria according to two state-news outlets. Egyptian state media also reports that the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church Pope Tawadros II was inside the Church when the blast happened.
Egypt’s Health Ministry says an explosion at a church in the coastal city of Alexandria has killed 11 people, and wounded at least 35 others.
It appeared to be the second attack targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christians, after a bomb in a church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta killed 26 people and wounded more than 70.
The ministry said the explosion went off at Saint Mark’s Church in Alexandria, where Pope Tawadros II had earlier celebrated Palm Sunday.
An Islamic State affiliate based in the Sinai Peninsula claimed an attack on a Cairo church in December that killed around 30 people, and vowed more attacks on Christians.
The bomb ripped through a church in the town of Tanta that was packed with Palm Sunday worshippers. Coptic Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt’s population, and have been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists.
Video of the aftermath in the links below (click the date):
and here: (click the date)