Egyptian police kill seven suspected Islamic State militants in shootout

  • Egyptian police kill seven suspected Islamic State militants in shootout

Egyptian police kill seven suspected Islamic State militants in shootout

At least 27 people were killed in Sunday's explosion inside a church in the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Tanta, while another blast killed 16 in front of a church in the coastal city of Alexandria. At least 16 were killed and more than 40 injured, including seven police officers securing the church's entrance.

"We deem their terrorist attack as an attempt to disrupt our prayers and disrupt our festivities, and we lost many more souls than we did in the bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo", Ghabour said.

"Christian targets are easier - churches are far more hard to fortify than say an army barracks or a police station".

Christians who comprise 10 percent of Egypt's population have been increasingly attacked and persecuted since the 2013 coup in the country, Morning Star reported, with the Egyptian army having little success in protecting the Coptic minority.

A day after two church bombings claimed by the Islamic State killed at least 49 people, Egypt's cabinet on Monday approved a countrywide state of emergency for three months.

In 2010, as the Arab Spring demonstrations were getting stronger, another such church attack by extremists left scores of people dead and wounded. Security details had reportedly been placed outside of both churches. A supreme council to counter terrorism and extremism is also going to be formed as a response to the Palm Sunday terrorist attack. "There were bodies and body parts everywhere, outside and inside the gate". Speaking through his spokesperson, he said he hoped "the perpetrators of this horrific terrorist act will be swiftly identified and brought to justice".

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, also condemned the bombings.

The Palm Sunday attacks, the single deadliest day for Christians in decades, rattled the community and prompted messages of support from overseas, including from Pope Francis, who is set to visit Egypt in the coming weeks, and President Donald Trump. Among the topics of mutual concern were terrorism and ISIS.

Trump and Abe also agreed to further cooperation on a range of regional issues, including the threat posed by North Korea, the White House said.

Sisi met Saturday with a US congressional delegation led by US Rep. Darrell Issa, the Egyptian government said.

During the funerals, angry crowds denounced the Egyptian security services and the country's interior minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar.

Francis, who is due to visit Cairo on April 28-29, offered prayers for the victims. He expressed his grief after the church attack.

"In fact, after such events we find that our churches are even more full and more people are coming to pray, and we raise their hearts to God for mercy and for strength", he said.