Coffins at the Coptic church in Tanta, where at least 27 died in the Palm Sunday bombing on April 9, 2017.
Coffins at the Coptic church in Tanta, where at least 27 died in the Palm Sunday bombing on April 9, 2017.

Families have started burying their loved ones after deadly bombings at two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, a significant day for most Christian denominations. The attacks took the lives of at least 44 and injured dozens more.

Daesh claimed responsibility for both attacks in the Nile Delta cities of Tanta and Alexandria. They came weeks before a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis, intended to show support for Egypt's Christian minority.

Egyptian Christians wept with rage on Monday as they recovered the bodies of loved ones killed in the bombings. Many are furious at a state they believe can no longer protect them from those bent on their murder.

At the Tanta University hospital morgue, security forces held back families who were trying to get inside to search for loved ones.

"Why are you preventing us from entering now? Where were you when all this happened?" shouted one woman looking for a relative. Some appeared in total shock, their faces pale and unmoving. Others wept openly as women wailed in mourning.

TRT World's Ben Said has this report.

Security lapse?

President Abdel Fattah el Sisi promised to protect the Christian minority as part of a campaign against extremism. But Copts in Tanta said security was almost non-existent on Sunday despite repeated warnings in recent weeks.

A senior police official said a bomb was discovered and disabled near the Tanta church about a week ago.

"That should have been an alarm or a warning that this place is targeted," said 38-year-old Amira Maher, who was waiting for her injured brother at a nearby hospital.

"Especially Palm Sunday, a day when many people gather, more than any other time in the year ... I don't know how this happened," she said.

State of emergency declared

Egypt's cabinet approved a nationwide three-month state of emergency, which went into effect at 1100GMT on Monday.

Sisi declared the "three-month" state of emergency during a televised speech. He warned the war against Daesh "will be long and painful."

"A series of steps will be taken, most importantly, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitutional steps are taken," Sisi said.

The president also ordered troops be deployed across the country in response to the attacks.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies