Christianity

Muslims respond to call for blood donations in Egypt after Palm Sunday attacks

Connor Powell reports from Jerusalem

 

In a show of solidarity after the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, Muslim men and women rushed to mosques in Tanta to donate blood for those injured in the blasts.

Hospitals in the area were running out of blood just hours after the attack in Tanta that left 27 dead and 78 others wounded after a bomb went off at St. George Church, according to Al Arabiya Net. The shortage led city officials to broadcast over loud speakers throughout the city and call on the public to head to mosques to donate blood to help the injured.

Mohammed Ahmad Hassan, a resident of Tanta, just north of Cairo, told the news agency that a large number of those responding to the call for blood donations were Muslim. He also said that hundreds of bags of donated blood were delivered to area blood banks, as well as to the hospital where the injured were being treated.

A three-month state of emergency was declared by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday after at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 more were injured in twin attacks in Tanta and Alexandria  the two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at . ISIS claimed responsibility for both.

Sunday's first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

A second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria -- left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II -- leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria -- finished services, but aides told local media that he was unharmed.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency, following the group's recent video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as "infidels" empowering the West against Muslims.

El-Sisi also accused unnamed countries of fueling instability in the country, adding "Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations that tried to control Egypt."

He also ordered the immediate deployment of troops to assist police in protecting vital facilities across the country.

The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.