Suicide bombers apparently connected to the terror group ISIS struck two Christian Coptic churches in Egypt on Sunday — the solemn Palm Sunday holiday marking the start of the holy week leading up to Easter. The attacks killed 43 in two separate Coptic churches, according to a report by CNN.
One of the suicide bombers was caught on surveillance video outside one of the churches. In the video, the man can be seen approaching the front of the church where he is stopped by police and told to wait at a security gate. Moments later, the man detonates a suicide bomb in a massive blast.
Those horrific moments are caught on tape in the following video. But be warned, the images in the video may be disturbing.
— Ali Al Shouk (@alialshouk) April 9, 2017
The alleged ISIS attack in the above video took place at Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, on Sunday, according to a report by NBC News.
Pope Tawadros II, the spiritual leader of the Coptic Christina Orthodox church, was presiding over Palm Sunday inside St. Mark’s Cathedral, but according to Egypt’s state news agency escaped from the church unharmed by the suicide bombing, which as shown in the video was confined to the exterior of the church due to the inability of the suicide bomber to get inside.
Nonetheless, 16 people were killed in the St. Mark’s Palm Sunday ISIS attack, according to NBC.
A second blast, at Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile town of Tanta, had been placed inside the church, Egyptian state television reported. The bomb was reportedly underneath a seat in the main worship area of the church.
The following video shows the moments immediately preceding the blast, with a church choir singing religious hymns. But the blast itself wasn’t visible because it apparently destroyed the camera shooting this video.
Another video taken by cell phone at the scene shows the immediate, bloody aftermath of the bombing. Be warned, the images in this video as well could be disturbing.
The police officer who prevented the Alexandria suicide bomber from entering St. Mark’s Cathedral has ben identified by the Kurdish media network Rudaw as Emad alRokeby. Rudy released the following picture of the officer, who died instantly in the blast.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) April 9, 2017
Another video shows the St. Mark’s blast from a perspective that appears to be about a city block away from the church. View that video below.
— Kevin W. (@kwilli1046) April 9, 2017
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in the country, though he added that “legal and constitution steps” would be taken before the state of emergency was put into place.
“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,” el-Sisi said in a prepared statement.
If approved by Egypt’s parliament, the state of emergency would allow police to make warrantless searches and arrests of Egyptian citizens and anyone else suspected of a connection to terrorist actions.
The Palm Sunday attacks follow a bombing in December of a Coptic Christian cathedral in Egypt that killed 30 people.
[Featured Image by Nariman El-Mofty/AP Images]