Egypt Declares State of Emergency After 43 Killed and Dozens Wounded in Palm Sunday Church Explosions

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the explosions targeting Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday that killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 100, according to officials.

The extremist group also hinted at future attacks, CNN reported, with the following message:

"The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing."

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The first attack hit the St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta (60 miles outside of Cairo), killing at least 27 people and wounding 78 others, authorities said.

The second explosion, which took place hours later, happened in front of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. The blast killed 16, including three police officers, and injured 41, according to reports.

Both attacks were reportedly carried out by suicide bombers.

Coptic Pope Tawadros was leading the mass at St. Mark's Cathedral at the time of the explosion but was not injured, authorities said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi condemned the attack in a statement, calling them "outrageous" and saying that the action "targets both the Copts and Muslims of the homeland."

He also announced a three-month state of emergency.

The U.S. State Department, in a statement, called the explosions "barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship."

"The United States will continue to support Egypt's security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism," acting spokesman Mark Toner said.

President Trump tweeted about the terror strike, saying the U.S. strongly condemns the attacks and that he is confident President el-Sissi "will handle the situation properly."

So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2017

...confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2017

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt later this month.

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"To my beloved brother father Tawadros II, to the Coptic church and to the whole beloved Egyptian nation, I express my deep condolences," the pontiff said during the Palm Sunday celebration at the Vatican. "I pray for the dead and for the injured. I am close to the families and o the whole community. God may convert the hearts of those who spread terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make, and traffic in, weapons." 

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