Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement Sunday decrying the Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic Christian churches in northern Egypt by ISIS terrorists that left at least 43 people dead and at least 126 injured.
“I am heartbroken for our friends in Egypt, where the forces of terror took their brutality to houses of worship on one of Christianity’s holiest days,” Garcetti said. “We can only imagine their pain and send prayers for peace, strength, and solidarity in the face of cruelty that holds nothing sacred and respects no boundaries.
This is a moment of indescribable sorrow, but the triumph celebrated on Palm Sunday is a timely reminder that evil is no match for the love, friendship and faith in the future that Los Angeles will always share with Egyptians and people around the world.”
ISIS has publicly claimed responsibility both bombings.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles Area chapter also issued a statement denouncing the terrorist bombings.
“We condemn these cowardly attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians and urge people of all faiths to join together in repudiating the religious and political extremism that leads deluded individuals to carry out such heinous crimes, whether directed at churches, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship,” CAIR said.
The twin attacks on Palm Sunday — one of the holiest days for Christians – happened first at Saint George’s Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, killing 27 people and wounding 78.
The second attack occurred at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, where the patriarch of the Egyptian Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, earlier celebrated Palm Sunday.
That explosion killed 17 people and wounded at least 48 more.
Christians make up about 10 percent of the Egyptian population. The attacks came weeks before a scheduled visit to Egypt by Pope Francis, putting increased pressure on the Egyptians regarding the pontiff’s security.
The attacks also came less than a week after Al-Sisi and President Donald Trump met at the White House and pledged to work together to fight radical terrorism.
A Southern California congressman who is in the Middle East as part of a congressional delegation was part of a joint statement issued from Cairo Sunday.
“We are sickened and horrified at the attacks that occurred this morning in Egypt, targeting innocent worshipers as they gathered to celebrate one of the holiest days of the Christian faith, said a statement from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, whose district encompasses part of southern Orange County. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with all those affected by this despicable act of terrorism.
The United States must continue working with our allies and partners in the international community to bring a swift end to ISIS and these continuing acts of violence across the world,” the statement said. “Egypt is one of our most crucial partners in that fight.”
Issa was joined in the statement by San Diego County Rep. Juan Vargas, D- Chula Vista, and by Reps. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia, Claudia Tenney R-New York, who also are on the trip to Egypt.
“(Saturday), we met with (Egyptian) President Al-Sisi to discuss how to foster better collaboration as we work together on our common interests of destroying ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups killing innocent civilians here, across the Middle East, the U.S., and throughout the world,” the statement said. “We will continue working together to address these threats and defeat terrorism once and for all.”
The stop in Cairo Saturday was the first step of a bipartisan congressional delegation trip to the Middle East focused on strengthening relationships with strategic partners and fostering cooperation in the fight against ISIS.
–City News Service and staff