Egypt on edge as Christians bury dead from church attacks

ISIS has launched a fresh campaign of terror in the latest assault on a religious minority increasingly targeted by Islamist militants. Sources close to Pope Francis told Arab media he has not canceled plans to visit Egypt, later this month.

Bomb blasts tore through crowds celebrating the holy Christian holiday of Palm Sunday in two Egyptian cities, killing at least 44 worshipers and injuring scores more.

The two bombings occurred in churches in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and Tanta north of Cairo.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's population of 85 million.

Francis will then meet with state authorities and with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II.

Tawadros was leading a congregation at Mass in Alexandria's Saint Mark's Cathedral when it was attacked.

Earlier in the day, Sisi announced a three-month state of emergency after two attacks on churches in Egypt's northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before the Easter.

The Pope did not mention the bombing but Sami said a feeling of uneasiness hung over the congregation. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.

Tim Tebow homers in first minor league at-bat
The 29-year-old known for his dedicated fan following is now on pace to hit 140 home runs this season, at his current rate. The ball struck a fence above the wall, bounced back into play and Tebow stopped at second base ahead of the throw.

He said women were crying and looking for their loved ones and were yelling at police for "not protecting" them.

In December, a suicide bombing claimed by IS killed 29 worshippers in a Cairo church, and the jihadist group later released a video threatening Egypt's Christians.

According to Hussein Hammouda, a retired Egyptian police brigadier-general, the attacks were meant to "punish the [Coptic Orthodox] Church for its support for the ruling regime, confuse Egypt's security apparatus, and respond to the army's ongoing [anti-militant] campaign in the Sinai Peninsula".

Mr el-Sissi, the army chief-turned-president, also dispatched elite troops across the country to protect key installations and accused unidentified countries of fuelling instability, saying that "Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organisations that tried to control Egypt".

Sunday's attacks have sparked renewed public anger at President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has promised to crack down on extremism.

Egypt's Mufti Shawki Alam condemned the Islamic State group for the blasts, insisting that its followers are "not authentic Muslims".

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the violence, adding to fears that extremists are shifting their focus to civilians, especially Egypt's Christian minority.

Andrew Abdel Shaheed, an Egyptian Copt who lives in Brussels, says he's too afraid to go home to Egypt after the attacks: "The calls for national unity are great, [but] how does it really help?"

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