CAIRO – The death toll in a church bombing in the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Tanta has climbed to 21, with 50 more injured, state television said on Sunday.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the cause of the blast, just one week before Coptic Easter and the same month as Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt, was not known.
Islamic State was responsible for two church bombings in Egypt on Sunday that killed at least 36 and injured over 100, the group’s news agency Amaq said.
“A group that belongs to Islamic State carried out the two attacks on the churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria,” Amaq said.
Pope Francis, who is due to visit Egypt this month, on Sunday condemned the blast that killed at least 21 people and injured 50 a Coptic church in the Nile Delta.
“I pray for the dead and the victims. May the Lord convert the hearts of people who sow terror, violence and death and even the hearts of those who produce and traffic in weapons,” he said at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
He expressed his “deepest condolences” to all Egyptians and to the head of the Coptic Church, who is due to be one of his hosts on the April 28-29 trip.
The blast was the latest assault on a religious minority that has increasingly been targeted by Islamist militants.