|From Tanta's Cathedral|
This Sunday was officially the start of "Pains week" in Coptic Orthodox Churches in Egypt in a sad irony.
As you may have known, two Egyptian Churches were attacked earlier in two different cities during the Palm Sunday. At least 40 people killed and over 100 others were injured in both attack.
At 9.05 AM Tanta local time, the first explosion took place at St.George Cathedral in Tanta city.
According to early reports, the explosion took place at the first and front rows full of men during the Palm Sunday service.
Already the Palm Sunday service started at 6 AM and should have ended at 12 PM.
It never ended because of the explosion that killed over 29 people and injured not less 70 others.
Here is the moment when the explosion took place on the CCTV as aired on TV channels.
The victims include a judge, doctors, some members of the Church Choir, grandfathers and fathers.#سيناء24 قناة العربية تبث لحظة انفجار كنيسة مارجرجس في طنطا، ويأتي الانفجار قبل أيام من زيارة سيقوم بها بابا الفاتيكان، فرنسيس، لمصر pic.twitter.com/Rrb1qeDaKs— سيناء 24 NEWS (@newsinai24) April 9, 2017
|The victims of Tanta bombing from|
The St. George Cathedral is considered the biggest church in the Nile Delta governorate.
Interestingly, from 12 days ago the Cathedral which hosts the bishopric of Tanta spoke about how security forces dealt with an unknown suspicious object found in front of it.
News reports claim that that object was actually a bomb that had been defused.
Tensions erupted later between the families of the victims and the security forces.
The head of Tanta security directorate was beaten badly the angry people inside the Church.
After that, he was sacked from his post.ده أخطر فيديو النهاردة #فيديو_اليوم— Magdy Kamel (@magdymohamed_) April 9, 2017
اعتداء الأقباط #بالضرب علي مدير أمن الغربية داخل كنيسة #طنطا
It only took three or four hours I believe when a second explosion took place and that time it was in Alexandria.
The bombing that time turned to be at St.Marks Cathedral in Alexandria, one of the most important cathedrals for Egyptian Coptic Christians.
It is considered the mother church of the Coptic Church.
Unlike Tanta's Cathedral, the explosion took place outside St. Marks Cathedral as the suicide bomber was stopped at the metal detector. The man blew up himself killing at least 11 people including the police force assigned to protect the Cathedral.
Luckily, the man was stopped because Pope Tawadros II was inside the Cathedral leading the Palm Sunday service along with a number of prominent Coptic Church men.
|Pope Tawadros II after knowing about Tanta's bombing|
during the service, while he was in Alexandria
Here is the CCTV recording of the attack. It is just sad
Here is the explosion from another angle.حصرياً .. لحظة تفجير الإنتحارى لنفسه أمام #الكنيسة_المرقسية#ONLIVE #كنيسة_مارجرجس #طنطا pic.twitter.com/wQX8isHr76— ONlive (@ONliveEgypt) April 9, 2017
Among the victims that have been killed in the attack, three Egyptian policewomen.
This is the first time Egyptian policewomen are killed on duty and in a terrorist attack.
Those ladies were standing the police force at the cathedral to inspect women church goers.
The strength of the explosion in the streets affected the old buildings in the heart of Alexandria.
Daesh and its statements as well warningsDaesh claimed responsibility for the attacks in a very short time compared to similar large attacks in other cities.
First, it issued a very small statement on its news agency Amaq which quoted a "security source " in their so-called Islamic City claiming responsibility for the attacks in Alexandria and Gharbia through their social media channels Cairo afternoon.
Then they released one of their blue-red statements with more details about the attacks.
|a couple of sneakers found at the explosion site in the Tanta Cathedral|
The terrorist group that "Abu Baraa Al-Masry" was the suicide bomber in Alexandria bombing while "Abu Isahak Al-Masry" was the suicide bomber in Tanta.
The group renewed its bloody vow that it would continue attacking the Egyptian Christians in the country at the end of the statement.
Interestingly the group did not mention that "Abu Baraa Al-Masry" technically failed in his mission thankfully because he blew himself outside the Church itself.
Daesh already claimed its responsibility for El-Botroseya Church's bombing in December.
It also released in February a-20-minutes video statement vowing more attacks against Egyptian Christians as well calling its supporters in Egypt to launch attacks against.
That video came at the same time, hundreds of Egyptian Christian families were forced to leave their homes in North Sinai after a terrorist killing spree targeting.
Aside from the silly reasons mentioned in the infamous Daesh video attacking Christians allegedly because of their support for the regime and so-called dominance on the Egyptian economy, I believe the terrorist organization has got other reasons behind the Palm Sunday attacks.
I think whenever Daesh loses areas in Syria and Iraq, it diverts attention with operations in Egypt.
It is worth to mention that their affiliated group in North lost important areas they used to control to the Egyptian army.
It is not a propaganda but the Egyptian armed forces indeed won control and purged Al-Halal mount in Middle Sinai from militants last month.
Also, it is a must to hint out that in March, one of the original founders of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis Salem Salmy was killed in an airstrike by the Egyptian armed forces. Salmy was from the original militants in Sinai that started their operations against the Egyptian regime in 2005 with the "Tawheed and Jihad" group before changing the name and affiliation several times till becoming Daesh-affiliated in November 2014.
Last week. Daesh announced the death of Salmy in one of its English publications saying that he died from his wounds following the airstrikes.
This is not the first time Daesh-affiliated group attacks targets outside North Sinai. I am fed up with self-claimed terrorism experts and geopolitics analysts claiming in mainstream and social media that those attacks mean the infamous militant group transferred its activity from North Sinai to the Valley of the Nile.
Since 2014 , Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis aka Daesh affiliated group has been active in the valley in a very scary way.
People forgot that that group stood behind the Cairo and Mansoura security directorates as well the attempt to assassinate former minister of interior Ahmed Ibrahim !!
They got a very scary of operations in the valley but people forget.
Still, I must say that since December 2016 and the bombing of Botroseya church their targets shifted to include citizens aka the Egyptian Christians.
The fact we are speaking about a coordinated attack that happened on a special day in two different governorates show that we are in front of the high level of planning and cells that have not been discovered.
I do not know if Pope Tawadros II was the real target in the second attack or it came by luck.
The president reactsFollowing the attacks, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting for the National Defense council.
During the meeting, he issued his orders to the army to deploy its units to protect vital facilities and buildings in Egypt.
|Egypt's National defense council meeting with El-Sisi|
He has to get the approval of the House of Representatives according to the Constitution within a week following his declaration. It is not a big problem, he will get by tomorrow.
I got many questions to ask but I am so tired, angry, frustrated and I have to get some good sleep.
May God bless the martyrs of today.