In December 2016, the Islamic State (IS) bombed St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo, killing 29, and in the aftermath declared that there will be more attacks on “infidels.” A week before Palm Sunday, a Christian feast celebrated the Sunday before Easter, a bomb was found and defused at St. George’s Church in Tanta in Al Gharbeyya governorate. On Palm Sunday, thousands of Christians all over Egypt headed to their houses of worship, making them easier targets for terrorism. At 9:05 a.m., an IS suicide bomber blew himself up from inside the prayer hall of the same Tanta church, claiming the lives of at least 28 and injuring 71.
“The explosion in Tanta was a huge security failure. The terrorist walked into the church from the front door,” said Mina Thabet, a researcher on minorities and vulnerable groups at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms.