Pope Francis expressed his “deep condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic church and all of the dear Egyptian nation” and other worshippers who were attacked on Palm Sunday.
At least 21 people were killed and over 50 injured early Sunday after an explosion rocked a church in Egypt’s Tanta, north of Cairo, media reports said. The blast occurred on Coptic Christian Palm Sunday, a Christian feast commemorating the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
Palm Day, which falls on the Sunday before Easter, is marked by Christians by paying respects to Jesus on the sacrifices he made. Just days after Palm Day, Jesus was put on trial and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Egypt’s Christian minority has often been targeted by Islamist militants in recent years.
In February, Islamic State group militants threatened more attacks against Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population.