A pair of bomb attacks on two Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt on Sunday killed at least 43 people and injured dozens more. The churches were celebrating Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week before Easter, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.
The larger attack took place in a city called Tanta, near Cairo. "There was blood all over the floor and body parts scattered," said a woman who was inside the church when the bomb exploded.
The second bomb was in Alexandria and targeted the seat of the Coptic Church's Pope Tawadros, who was not injured. "Every now and then, I see a person crying — I think they are Christian — and they keep saying, 'Have you seen my family? Have you seen my family?'" said an eyewitness of the attack aftermath in Alexandria.
Pope Francis and Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, a leader of Sunni Islam in Egypt, both denounced the bombings and expressed their condolences for the victims. "I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members [of the victims] and to the entire community," Francis said during his own Palm Sunday celebration. "May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence, and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons."
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi responded by deploying the soldiers to assist police in securing other potential targets. "So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns," President Trump said in a tweeted statement. "I have great confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly."
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.