It may be recalled that yesterday's bombings were among the deadliest that were targeted at the minority Christian community in Egypt.

Francis will become the second Roman Catholic pope to visit Egypt, following John Paul II's historic trip there in February 2000.

The US Embassy in Egypt condemned "the heinous, reprehensible terrorist attack against peaceful worshippers".

"The pope's mission is to be beside his brothers at the time of difficulty".

"Christians are in a state of shock", he added.

A 15-year veteran of the church, Father Danial said that the church "definitely" was in need of better security but stopped short of blaming the government. "But we need these measures to keep people safe", he said. "This terrorist attack is devoid of all the principles of humanity and civilisation", it said in a statement.

MFA said there are now no e-registered Singaporeans in both cities and there are so far no reports of Singaporeans injured or directly affected by the attacks.

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

Fadi Sami, another witness, was inside the Alexandria cathedral when he heard about the church bombing in Tanta, when the Coptic pope was leading the prayers for Palm Sunday.

CCTV footage showed a man with a blue jumper draped over his shoulders approach the main gate to the Alexandria church, however he was directed towards a metal detector by a security guard.

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A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday outside St. Marks Cathedral in Alexandria killing not less than 17 people and injuring 40 others only a couple of hours after Tanta's cathedral was bombed.

On Sunday, the group warned of more attacks and boasted of the number of people killed by three church bombings it says it has carried out since December: 80.

IS claimed two Egyptian suicide bombers carried out both attacks and threatened further attacks in a statement published on social media.

The first blast ripped through a Palm Sunday service at St. George's Church in Tanta.

"Alongside the sadness and the mourning, we must unite forces with an iron fist against the Axis of Evil and terrorism", she said.

Monitoring groups have redoubled their efforts to track government violations of human rights and civil liberties, concerned that a lack of clarity around the wording of the law would allow the government to target critics and political opponents rather than the perpetrators of the attack. "What have you done to reform thought, expression and religious discourse?" Hundreds of young people led the procession into St. Peter's Square and later, youths from Poland handed the World Youth Day cross to young representatives from Panama, where the next global gathering will be held in January in 2019.

Even before Morsi was toppled, militants had targeted the Christians, most notably in a 2011 New Year bombing of a church in Alexandria which police blamed on a group linked to Al-Qaeda.

The US State Department also issued a rebuke, calling the bombings "barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship". On behalf of all USA bishops, the cardinal expressed "our deepest sadness" for all those killed and injured, and their loved ones. Egypt's Copts are one of the most ancient Christian communities and the largest in the Middle East, said the report.

Egypt is 90 percent Sunni Muslim; Christians make up the remaining 10 percent, with that majority being the Coptic Orthodox church.

Catholics make up less than 0.5% of Egypt's population of 95 million.


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