The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned “in the strongest terms” two church bombings in Egypt that killed at least 43 people and injured scores.
The “heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks” took place as worshipers were marking Palm Sunday — one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar — in two Orthodox churches in Tanta and Alexandria, the Council said in a statement.
Daesh terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Council extended condolences to the families of the victims, reaffirmed fight against terrorism, and called on UN member states to cooperate with Egypt’s government.
The first explosion struck inside St. George church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, killing at least 27 people and injuring 78, Egypt’s Health Ministry said in a statement.
Hours later, 16 people were killed and 41 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint outside St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said a bomber detonated himself after being prevented from breaking through the security cordon around the church.
It confirmed that four policemen were among those killed in the attack.
A source from the St. Mark’s Cathedral said Coptic Pope Tawadros II was inside the church when the bombing took place but he was unhurt.
In December, a bomb blast struck a church in central Cairo, killing more than 25 people and injuring scores.
Coptic Christians are estimated to account for between 8 and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of about 90 million.