Palm Sunday is one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, as it marks the day Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.
Today, our focus is not on Jerusalem, but on two Egyptian cities that were targeted by ISIS on 9 April. In Tanta, a city 95km north of Cairo, a man wearing concealed explosives passed through a security checkpoint outside St George’s Church, and detonated himself. It is reported that at least 28 people were killed, leaving 77 injured.
At the Egyptian port city of Alexandria three hours later, another bomber tried to enter St Mark’s Church. When the man was stopped by an officer, he also detonated his explosives. This time at least 17 people were killed and 48 left wounded.
Egypt’s Copts have been persecuted for thousands of years and the brutal Palm Sunday bombings were just the latest occurrence.
A Voice of the Martyrs contact in Egypt, responded immediately and went to the families of the martyrs and injured Christians who had been attacked in Alexandria. Before visiting the families, our contact and his colleagues came together and prayed. “We wanted to know how we could help these families in the best possible way. The conclusion we came to, was to help them financially.”
The Palm Sunday bombings had left many families traumatised, however through their visit, families were greatly encouraged that God had not abandoned them. “Many had lost their loved ones, but the Lord had a way to their hearts to encourage and comfort them.”
Through your generous financial response to our emergency appeal, your donations were hand delivered to these believers. Although this was a horrendous attack on God’s people in Egypt, please continue to pray for them and be encouraged as you read these testimonies of hope amid the pain and triumph despite adversity.
A gunman fatally shot a Christian minister on Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula on 30 June. The Islamic State, in a message distributed on social media, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Coptic Orthodox minister, the Reverend Rafael Moussa, 46, was standing outside a car repair shop near St George’s Church in El Arish, the main town in northern Sinai, when a masked gunman walked up and shot him, officials said. The assailant threatened witnesses before fleeing.
In its message, the Islamic State described Reverend Moussa as a “disbelieving combatant” but did not provide further justification for his killing, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.
It was the latest in a series of attacks on Coptic Christians in northern Sinai, where the Egyptian Army has been fighting an Islamist group that pledges allegiance to the Islamic State.
Church officials said eight members of their church have died in targeted attacks since 2013. The violence has caused some Christians to leave the area for Cairo and other cities.
Source: The New York Times
- Pray for the church members and family of Reverend Moussa as they come to terms with this sudden loss. Pray they will look to the Lord for comfort and strength.
- Pray for the protection of church leaders across the nation of Egypt; ask the Lord to grant favour to the army as they try to bring an end to the violence in the north.
- Pray the church in Egypt may be unified in their love for the Lord and their desire for others to be brought into relationship with Him.
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