Christians were gathered in churches around the world to celebrate Palm Sunday on April 9, 2017, marking the beginning of Holy Week. During this time of year, many Christians share in a renewal of their faith as they remember the pilgrimage that Jesus took before his death and resurrection.
At Saint George Church in Tanta, Egypt, the church was full. Scriptures were read. Songs were sung. Somewhere between welcome and amen, a bomb exploded—killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens of parishioners and members of the clergy.
Investigators reportedly believe, according to CNN and other media reports, that someone had placed an explosive device under a seat in the prayer hall. Exactly how the bomb was detonated is still unknown.
As emergency personnel were working to secure the scene at Saint George, a second attack occurred just outside of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt.
The church service had just ended and people were leaving the building when a man arrived wearing a zipped-up jacket with one hand in his pocket. A security officer denied the visitor access to the cathedral and referred him to the metal detector outside the church’s entrance.
The man can be seen on video talking with the officer and then walking towards the metal detector. He walked a few steps past it, turned, entered the metal detector frame, and detonated a bomb, killing at least 11 people—including three police officers—and wounding 35 others. The actions of the security officer and the use of the metal detector saved numerous lives that day.
Between the two attacks, 43 people died and approximately 100 were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks and warned that there would be more attacks in the future against Christians, police, and the military, according to CNN.
However, these attacks left many questions unanswered. Details such as how the bombers picked their targets, whether they were working together, and what advance preparations they had made all remained a mystery.
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