Mar Girgis church - YOUM7/Mohamed El Hosary
CAIRO - 9 April 2017: At least 30 people were killed and 71 injured in a bomb explosion that targeted the Mar Girgis Church in Tanta, north of Cairo, on Sunday.
The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued directives to Armed Forces Hospitals to receive the victims.
The blast occurred during a church service as worshippers celebrated Palm Sunday.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is currently en route to the scene, accompanied by the ministers of health, social solidarity and immigration.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has described the attack as an "obnoxious and failed attempt."
"Terrorism hits Egypt again, this time on Palm Sunday. Another obnoxious but failed attempt against all Egyptians," the Foreign Ministry tweeted.
Al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in Egypt, condemned the attack, affirming that “it is a huge crime against all Egyptians.” Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb also sent a delegation to the church.
In an official statement, the House of the Egyptian Family (Beit El-Aela El-Masreya), a group of Coptic and Muslim leaders working to promote national unity, also condemned the attack.
“All Egyptians stand as one against terrorism and in support of Sisi and the security institution,” their statement read.
Social media posts are calling for blood donations to help the injured in Tanta hospitals, and another campaign was launched in Tanta mosques.
The explosion marks the second bomb attack in Tanta within 10 days. On April 1, a police officer was killed and 12 were injured in an explosion targeting a security forces training center. An investigation revealed the explosive device was planted in a motorcycle.
Islamic group Lewaa El Thawra (Revolution Brigade) claimed responsibility for the April 1 explosion. According to their Twitter account, the attack was in retaliation for the death of four of the group’s members who were targeted by police last month.
Father Boutros Daniel, director of the Catholic Center, confirmed to
that Pope Francis's visit to Egypt in April is still on despite of the attack. The pope is expected to visit Egypt on an official visit on April 28 and 29.