Coptic church attacks: Egypt's president declares three-month state of emergency


Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency and ordered the military special forces to protect key infrastructure after the Islamic State group triggered powerful bombs at two minority Coptic Christian churches, killing at least 45 people.

"As a Coptic Christian, I no longer feel safe in Egypt", Hany Ezat, whose cousin was injured in Sunday's attack, told Time.

"In these hard and challenging times", Tveit added, " the WCC calls particularly on religious and national leaders to support the people in Egypt as they affirm life and engage in countering negative trends through peaceful means, such as proactive engagement in dialogue and partnership between Christians and Muslims in Egypt and throughout the world".

In a statement, the council urged all member states to co-operate with the Egyptian government in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

China opposes all forms of terrorism, she said.

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Sisi must present the emergency declaration to parliament within a week.

The security forces have been put on alert in anticipation of more attacks, the Egyptian media reported.

The first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) condemns the vicious attacks on innocent worshippers in St George (Mar Girgis) Coptic church in Tanta and in front of St Mark´s church in Alexandria, Egypt. The blasts have come ahead of the visit of Pope Francis to Egypt on April 28-29, and prompted worldwide condemnation.

Steffen Seibert told reporters that it was important to preserve the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Coptic Christians in Egypt.

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Here's everything we know so far about the attacks.

"We convey our condolences to the bereaved families and the whole people of Egypt", the statement said before a second attack hit an Alexandria church. "He was like an angel, standing in the middle of the deacons singing", Maher said.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by militants since 2013 when the military toppled president Mohammed Morsi, an elected leader who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, and launched a crackdown against Islamists.

A day after the Palm Sunday bloodshed, the Interior Ministry said it killed seven Islamic State militants in an exchange of gunfire during a security operation in the southern city of Assiut.

Egypt was preparing to impose a state of emergency yesterday after jihadist bombings killed dozens at two churches in the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country's Coptic Christian minority.

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