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Egypt: bombing of Coptic church kills at least 21

Baku, April 9, AZERTAC 

A bomb has exploded in a Coptic church north of Cairo, killing at least 21 people and wounding 50 others, officials have said.

According to The Guardian, the attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt’s Christian minority, which accounts for about 10% of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists. The attack on Palm Sunday worshippers comes just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes a week before Easter.

An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo in December that killed about 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the restive Sinai peninsula which have led to hundreds of Christians fleeing to safer areas of the country.

A militant group called Liwa al-Thawra claimed responsibility for the bombing of a police training centre in Tanta on 1 April that left 16 people injured.

The group, believed to be linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, has mainly targeted security forces and distanced itself from attacks on Christians.

Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

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