The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch is unharmed. So far 11 are dead and 66 wounded. Initial reports indicate a suicide bomber was responsible. Egypt’s National Defence Council is set to meet. Some call for an overhaul of security measures around churches.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – Less than two hours after an explosion tore through the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in Tanta, a second blast struck St Mark Cathedral in Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, during the Palm Sunday service led by Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II. The church is the traditional seat of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
Initial reports suggest that a man blew himself up at the entrance of the church, street-side, as the patriarch celebrated Mass at the altar inside. The latter was whisked away to a safe place under tight protection.
So far 11 people are dead and 66 wounded. Some policemen are among the casualties, including Adel El-Rakiby, head of the police department in Atarin district. In addition to the church, the blast hit a small building across the street.
Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi called a meeting of the National Defence Council.
Many people demand an overhaul of security measures around churches. The city of Alexandria has 48 Coptic Orthodox churches, plus those of other rites.