Church Bombings Rock Palm Sunday in Egypt

Last weekend in Egypt, Palm Sunday was rocked by two deadly bombings on Christian churches. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed at least 49 people and injured more than 100 as of Monday.

The first attack occurred at St. George’s Church in Tanta during a Palm Sunday service. An explosive device planted under a seat in the main prayer hall killed 27 people and wounded 78 others.

"Everything is destroyed inside the church," said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the bombing. Its marble pillars were covered with blood, he said.

Soon after the first attack, a suicide bomber was stopped outside St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria and detonated his explosive belt, killing 18 people including both civilians and police officers.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared three days of nationwide mourning following the bombings and said a three-month state of emergency would come into force once legal and constitutional measures have been completed.

"We have to pay attention because of Egypt and Egypt's future. We know this is a big sacrifice but we are capable of facing it," he said on state television Sunday.

In a statement he said, "The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development.”

ISIS also released a statement, warning of more attacks. “The Crusaders and their apostate followers must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large, and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God is willing."

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attacks and offered his sympathies to the victims and to the country in a statement through a spokesman.

"Guterres wishes a quick recovery to those injured and hopes that the perpetrators of this horrific terrorist act will be swiftly identified and brought to justice," said the spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric.

The US State Department also commented on the bombings as, "barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship."

"The United States will continue to support Egypt's security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism," said acting spokesperson Mark Toner.