Egypt Coptic church blast ‘kills at least 21’ in Nile Delta

CAIRO-At least 21 people have been killed and dozens more injured in an explosion at a church in northern Egypt, state media say.

The blast targeted St George’s Coptic church in the city of Tanta in the Nile Delta.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but Egypt’s Christian minority has often been targeted by Islamist militants in recent years.

It was timed for maximum impact, as people gathered to mark Palm Sunday.

Egyptian security forces had been put on alert in anticipation of such an attack.

Provincial governor Ahmad Deif told the state-run Nile channel: “Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up.”

A search is under way for any more explosives which could be in the vicinity.

Violence against Coptic Christians has risen in recent years, especially since 2013, when the military overthrew the elected president and launched a crackdown against Islamists.

Some supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow.

In December last year, 25 people died when a bomb exploded at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo during a service.

And in February, militants from the Islamic State group warned of more attacks against Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s population.

The explosion occurred as Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

On 1 April, an explosion outside a police training centre in Tanta injured 16 people.

Source: Angola Press News Agency