(CNN) Egyptians of different faiths rallied together on Sunday in defiance of ISIS, after the group claimed responsibility for two Coptic Christian church bombings hundreds of miles apart. The attacks left at least 43 dead and dozens more injured, amid grim scenes of hollowed-out churches, with body parts and blood scattered among the debris.
Outraged Egyptians posted messages of solidarity with members of the embattled religious minority on social media, using a hashtag saying “your terrorism brings us together.”
On Sunday night, protesters gathered outside Alexandria’s St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to condemn the attacks, criticize the government’s response to persecution of Copts and demand the resignation of the interior minister.
Video posted on Facebook shows an angry crowd surrounding and beating Maj. Gen. Hussam Ad-Din Khalifa, director of security in Gharbiya Province where Tanta is located, when he tried inspecting the damage at St. George church. Shortly afterward, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi relieved Khalifa of his duties.
Sunday’s bombings came nearly four months after a suicide bomber killed 23 people in a Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo. Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s 91 million residents, have been the target of increased persecution and discrimination since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.
Despite tensions between the groups, the country’s Muslim community has frequently shown support for Christians following acts of violence. Images on social media showed Muslims gathering inside mosques Sunday to donate blood for victims.
It was reminiscent of an interfaith gesture following the 2011 Egyptian revolt in Tahrir Square. Christians joined hands in a circle around praying Muslims to protect them from regime forces and loyalists trying to break up the protest.
St. George’s Church in Tanta, a small city located between Cairo and Alexandria, had been the target of a bomb threat in March. That didn’t deter an estimated crowd of 2,000 congregants from attending Palm Sunday mass, the start of Holy Week before Easter.
The first bomb went off around 9:00 a.m. Church camera footage showed that the choir was in the middle of performing before the feed abruptly cut off.
Peter Kamel was about to leave home for mass when he learned about the explosion and rushed over to look for friends.
“The bombing was so loud that even people who live far away could hear it,” Kamel told CNN. “Everything is destroyed inside the church.”
The bomb appeared to have exploded near the altar, striking choir members and priests, Kamel said.
On Facebook, Kamel posted scenes of the devastation inside the church:
A pair of sneakers laying among the debris.
Blood splashed on marble pillars, spattered across paintings and woven stalks of green palms.
The bodies of victims, many of them burned, among splintered pews.
Mina Abdel Malak said he was outside St. George’s during the explosion and rushed inside to look for his cousin.
“It was horrible; blood and body parts everywhere,” he said. “People on the other side of the street felt the explosion shaking their cars.”
He rushed to the hospital and saw the name of his cousin, a teacher with two young children, on a list of the deceased.
The previous bomb threat should have put authorities on notice, he said.
“This shouldn’t have happened. This is our feast and there was supposed to be strict security measures,” he said. “For someone to get this amount of explosives inside, then security wasn’t doing its job.”
‘Thank God it is a Sunday’
Fadi Sami heard about the Tanta bombing during mass at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. The church had drawn an especially big crowd because Pope of Alexandria Tawadros II was leading prayers.
The Pope did not mention the bombing but Sami said a feeling of uneasiness hung over the congregation. He said he left after the sermon, and 20 minutes later, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the church’s gate.
“It’s difficult to process this idea, that if I had left 20 minutes later, I would have stopped to exist in this world,” Sami, 26, told CNN.
Egyptians gather near a church in Alexandria after a bomb blast struck worshipers.
The blast tore through nearby storefronts, he said. The area was enveloped in smoke as people rushed over to find bodies and body parts scattered among debris, he said.
“I saw a man put together what was left of his son in a bag,” he said.
The death toll could well have been worse if it had been a weekday, Egyptian blogger Maged Butter said. Usually, this commercial part of downtown Alexandria is crowded with shoppers.
“Thank God it is a Sunday, and many shops are closed.”
He recorded video showing crowds filling the streets as emergency vehicles tried to pass.
(CNN) ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 36 at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday — brazen strikes against a vulnerable minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.
The terror group’s Amaq media wing said “a security detachment” of the Islamic State carried out the attacks on churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria. The bombings also left scores wounded.
CNN could not independently confirm ISIS was behind the attacks — or had any prior knowledge in planning them. ISIS often uses Amaq news agency to claim attacks after they have happened.
Photos:Church bombing in Tanta, Egypt
People gather in front of St. George’s Church after the bombing.
Photos:Church bombing in Tanta, Egypt
Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb blast at St. George’s Church in Tanta, Egypt, on Palm Sunday.
The first blast was in the northern city of Tanta, when a powerful explosion ripped through a Palm Sunday service at St George’s Church, killing 25 people and wounding 60 others, state TV reported. The explosive device was planted under a seat in the main prayer hall, it said.
At least 11 people were killed and 35 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, according to two state-news outlets. Egyptian state media also reports that the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church Pope Tawadros II was inside the Church when the blast happened. He was not injured.
Rescue workers help a victim of the attack in Alexandria.
The horrific attacks were the latest against Christians in the region, this time on Palm Sunday — the Sunday before Easter, and the day that marks the start of Holy Week for Christians.
Nile and Masriya TV, Egyptian state outlets, aired black banners in the upper left of its newscasts to signify mourning for the victims of both explosions.
In Tanta, news footage shows people gathered at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switches to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.
“Everything is destroyed inside the church” and blood can be seen on marble pillars, said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the carnage.
It appeared the explosive device was placed near the altar, he said. Priests and the church choir were among the casualties.
In Alexandria, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that police assigned to St. Mark’s stopped a terrorist with an explosive belt from breaking into the church. Along with civilians, a policeman, a policewoman and other police staff were killed.
He expressed his grief following the church attack.
“To my dear brother his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to the Coptic church and to all of the dear country Egypt, I express my deep condolences, I prayed for the dead and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the entire community. God convert the hearts of the people who spread terror, violence and dead, and also the heart of who produces and traffic weapons,” the Pope said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, serving the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, called the attacks “evil” and urged people to pray for the victims.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin condemned the attack and offered his condolences to el-Sisi, according to Russia’s state-run Tass.
CNN’s Sarah Sirgany, Tamara Qiblawi, Bijan Hosseini and Ian Lee contributed to this report
A man steered a stolen beer truck into a crowd of people and then rammed it into a department store, killing at least three people in what officials were calling a terrorist attack in the heart of Stockholm on Friday afternoon.
“Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.
The suspect in the attack was still at large. But at a news conference later in the evening, the Swedish police released a photo of a man being sought in connection for questioning.
The authorities said they did not know if it had been an isolated assault, or something bigger. The Swedish intelligence agency said “a large number” of people had been wounded.
Mats Löfving, the head of national operative department of the Swedish police, said, “This is now declared a national security event,” adding that officers across the nation were on heightened alert.
The Swedish Parliament was on lockdown, according to news reports. Train service in and out of the city grounded to a halt, and the police, who blocked off the affected area, urged people to stay at home and to avoid the city center.
The police said the first emergency call came in around 2:50 p.m. local time as the attack unfolded in Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s busiest shopping street. Witnesses described a scene of panic and terror.
“I saw hundreds of people running; they ran for their lives” before the truck crashed into the Ahlens department store, a witness identified only as Anna told the newspaper Aftonbladet.
At first, she said, she thought the noise was people moving things around the store, but then the fire alarm went off and staff members told her and other shoppers to get out of the building.
“We were running, we were crying, everyone was in shock,” Ms. Libert said. “We rushed down the street, and I glanced to the right and saw the truck. People were lying on the ground. They were not moving.”
Ms. Libert, who followed others as they were guided by officials to shelter, added, “My sister in law and some friends are close to the scene and at lockdown, can’t leave their office.”
She said that she usually avoided busy areas that could be potential terrorist targets, but that she had decided to take the Friday afternoon off to do some shopping.
“Some people felt that this was just a matter of time,” she said. “Paris, Brussels, London and now Stockholm. I just had a feeling something like this would happen.”
After the assailant plowed into people, the front of the truck ended up inside the department store.
A representative of the Spendrups brewery told Radio Sweden that the vehicle had been taken earlier in the day. A spokesman for the company told SVT, a national public broadcaster, that the truck had been stolen while the driver was loading it from the rear.
The brewery’s driver told the police that a masked man stole the vehicle, and that he was injured trying to stop him, the authorities said.
At the news conference, officials released a photo of a man wearing a hoodie. They did not name him as a suspect, saying only that they wanted to question him in connection with the attack.
The national police chief, Dan Eliasson, said, “We have the truck and the driver who usually drives it, but we do not have contact with the person or persons who drove it.”
Mr. Löfving, also of the police, asked for the public’s help in sharing the photo: “We want to get in touch with this man.”
The authorities also said that they could not confirm the number of dead or injured until they received more information from the hospitals.
The chief medical doctor at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital, Nelson Follin, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the hospital was treating “a handful” of people.
“The injuries are quite serious, but for now I cannot give further comments on conditions,” Dr. Follin said.
Previous accounts of shots being fired in parts of Stockholm were unfounded, the police said, adding that officers across Sweden were protecting high-risk sites.
The attack reverberated as far away as Norway, where the police said on Twitter that officers in that nation’s largest cities and at the airport in Oslo would be armed until further notice following the attack in Stockholm.
The assault came after several other episodes in Europe in the past year in which a vehicle was used to attack people.
The Islamic State group revived the idea of using cars as weapons after it broke with Al Qaeda in 2014. In the past year, ISIS militants have claimed responsibility for the deaths of more than 100 people in Europe.
Although some Swedes have expressed concern that immigration has led to a crime wave in the country — and President Trump seemed to suggest in a speech on Feb. 18 that there had been an attack in Sweden, when in fact nothing had occurred — the country and the region remain largely peaceful and safe.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s prime minister announced Saturday that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single region as a severe drought threatens millions of people across the country.
It was the first death toll announced by Somalia’s government since it declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire spoke during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee. The death toll he announced is from the Bay region in the southwest part of the country alone.
Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the U.N. secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the U.N. chief said.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, was expected to visit Somalia in the next few days.
Thousands have been streaming into Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently.
The drought is the first crisis for Somalia’s newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group al-Shabab, have left the country fragile. Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia’s diaspora of 2 million people for help.
About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia “need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished,” the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned.
Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, U.N. experts say. Some deaths from cholera already have been reported.
The government has said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks.”
The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But the U.N. World Food Program recently requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.
A lot of people when they hear the word disciple tend to think of the Lord’s twelve Apostles. These men were indeed disciples of Jesus Christ but in their case they were a whole lot more that just disciples. These men were hearer’s and seekers of the Lord in the flesh and of His miracles. There are no Apostles of Christ left upon the Earth today as John, the writer of the last book of the Bible called Revelation was the last and he died in the late first century A.D.. I put this little ‘disclaimer’ in because I have heard of a few men in my lifetime who has tried to deceive people by saying they were one. John was the only one of the Lord’s Apostles who wasn’t murdered for their testimony of Christ. If you come across a person who says that they are an Apostle of Christ you can know without any doubt that this person is not even a disciple of the Lord because this person starts his testimony with a lie. The definition of the word disciple is to be a ‘follower’ of.
There are sects of the Christian faith that teach in error the concept of ‘once saved always saved’ even though the Scriptures do not teach this. Think about a person who was actually an Apostle of Jesus, a man who witnessed Jesus and His miracles and listened to His words daily for three years yet his own actions condemned himself. This man of which I speak is of course Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus to be condemned. Judas chose to become a disciple of and a worker for Satan, much to his own horror. Jesus Himself said “it was better for the man who betrayed Him, if he had never been born. For it was for this purpose , this act that Judas was brought into this world.” In the Gospel of Luke 22:3 it is written,”Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot.” Folks, what a horrible thing for this man Judas for the next time he see’s the face of Jesus will be at his own judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ. In the Webster Dictionary the definition of the word disciple reads as follows “follower, one who takes another as a teacher and model, training that produces orderliness, obedience and self-control.” All of these things that Mr. Webster says about being a disciple is exactly what I want to be, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. This thing, this event, being a disciple of Jesus is exactly what I wish for everyone on Earth to have as their main daily goal in their lives.
Friends, everyone on Earth is a disciple of something or of someone, humans always have been, it is a reality of our nature. I know that there are some who are disagreeing with me right now on a personal level , that is okay, hopefully before you finish reading this article you will change your mind on that issue. Everyone of us humans are known by our works, what we do, or what we do not do. The people that are around us each day (at least the ones who even notice us at all) make judgements of us on the things we say and or do, or don’t do, fair or not this is reality. We humans are not saved by our works but we are known by them. This is so that we as humans should not boast of our accomplishments, raising ourselves above others because it is by the Grace of God that we are saved. This is why we must all walk our lives after the path of and the face of He whom we follow each day, if we are a disciple of Jesus Christ. If we are a disciple of Jesus we must all walk in the Light of The Lord everyday. The Lord gave us the examples on how we should live our lives, He doesn’t force us to do anything though, it is our choice what we do or don’t do. Question, if we walk after the face and the heart of Jesus in faith wouldn’t the things we do each day, our works, show to the world that we are a disciple of Christ? If you have people in your life who don’t believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of the human race, I pray that you by the example you lead each and everyday is an example of the Light, the Love of Jesus. If we are just a once a week Christian then we are neither hot or cold as we show Christ as a bad example to those around us and those people will turn away from the salvation that Jesus offers all of us, because of you, because of your works being evil they will be condemned.
Folks, this is concerning our ‘works’, our daily activities and why they matter so much. The Apostle Paul in his letters to the Churches in Asia Minor told the Christians there that just because it is legal for us to do something, let’s say like going to a bar/saloon/pub after work with a few of our buddies and have a couple of beers before we head home, it is not always a good idea to do so. The reason Paul gave was because if a weaker Christian sees us going into the bar they may think less of us as a Christian, thus think less of Christianity and fall away from The Faith. Paul was just telling us to be careful about our actions each day because our actions do matter, if we are a Christian we are supposed to be a ‘light unto the world’. It may sound a bit cold but if we are not walking our lives, our daily examples, after the Light of Lord then we are walking in the darkness of this world and at the very least, our own actions are condemning ourselves. This life for we humans is but the ‘blink of the eye’ in regards to eternity yet we seem to find it so difficult to stay faithful for just this little while. If we fall, if we fail, it is our own fault if we are after this life, thrown into Hell.
The Devil puts so much onto the daily path that we walk. He wants us all to trip and fall as often as possible hoping for the day that we give up and do not get up. He wants every one of us to stumble in and to live in His darkness. Remember friends, the Devil is a raging Lion constantly walking the Earth seeking whom He can devour. Satan wants you, your parents, grandparents, your kids, brothers and sisters, your spouse and everyone you know and love to go to Hell, literally. You see, Satan and tens of thousands of Angels fought against God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and their faithful Angels for supremacy of Heaven itself, and they lost. They were kicked out of Heaven onto the Earth where they will be until the end of this system of things that we are all part of. Then once the Second Advent of Christ happens they will be cast straight into Hell as their final punishment for their treason against God. The Devil and His Angels know the Bible better than any human and they know that events are winding down. They also know that we humans whom they hate so badly are going to have a fair and honest chance to have what they once had, salvation, eternity with God. So you see friends, it really does matter what path we choose in this life, it matters a lot whom or what we decide to ‘follow’, to be a disciple of. None of us knows when our last heartbeat will be yet once it has happened the path we followed can not be changed. With the Lord Jesus there is only one path, the one that leads us to Him. There are many other paths and they all lead us to the same place and that place is not to God, it is to the Devil and all of His raging Angels who are waiting for us in Hell, it is our choice. Whom or what are we a Disciple of?
Airports across the country were on Friday alerted about the possibility of rape-accused UP minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati trying to flee the country even as chief minister Akhilesh Yadav promised all help in the case.While the minister continues to elude police, a relative of the woman has said a UP Police officer who recorded the victim’s statement threatened to kill them.
Yadav and his Samajwadi Party are facing the heat over the missing minister as the state holds sixth round of voting on Saturday.
The case, the BJP said, was a pointer to the worsening law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.
A letter of cancellation would soon be opened against Prajapati and all airports were alerted to prevent the 49-year-old from fleeing the country, official sources said.
A letter of cancellation is a technical term for alerting immigration authorities about the possibility of a suspect leaving the country.
The Sashastra Seema Bal, which guards Uttar Pradesh’s border with Nepal, too, was on an alert.
An FIR was recently registered against the minister for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her daughter. The FIR was filed on the directions of the Supreme Court.
“The matter is in the Supreme Court…The government will fully cooperate and go by its order,” Akhilesh Yadav said to a question at a hurriedly convened press conference in Lucknow.
When his attention was drawn to a tweet by state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya that said Prajapati was hiding in the chief minister’s house, Yadav asked the mediapersons to check for themselves.
Prajapati is the SP’s candidate from Amethi, which voted on February 27.
A relative of the woman allegedly raped by Prajapati and his aides alleged that a police officer who came to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi to record the victim’s statement, threatened to kill them in a fake encounter.
In a complaint filed at the city’s Hauz Khas police station, the relative alleged that a DSP-rank officer on Thursday barged into the ward where the victim’s 16-year-old daughter is admitted and threatened them. The officer also snatched their mobile phones.
DUBLIN — Forensics experts say they have found a mass grave for young children at a former Catholic orphanage in Ireland where suspicions of unrecorded, unmarked burials have lingered for decades.
Friday’s announcement by the government-appointed Mother and Baby Homes Commission confirms a 2014 investigation by a local historian who found death certificates for nearly 800 children who died at the home in Tuam, County Galway, from its opening in 1925 to its 1961 closure.
The commission says excavations at the site from November to January found an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains.”
It says DNA analysis of selected remains confirmed the ages of the dead ranged from 35 weeks to 3 years old and were buried when the orphanage was operating.
A blast from a suicide car bomb ripped through a market in Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing 18 people and wounding at least 25, a local official said, days after the country elected a new president.
Casualties were confirmed by Ahmed Abdulle Afrax, the mayor of Wadajir, the district of the city where the bombing happened.
“I was staying in my shop when a car came in into the market and exploded. I saw more than 20 people lying on the ground. Most of them were dead and the market was totally destroyed,” witness Abdulle Omar said.
Al Shabaab, the Islamist insurgent group that is fighting the U.N.-backed Somali government, did not immediately claim responsibility.
Al Shabaab has been able to carry out increasingly deadly bombings despite losing most of its territory in the country to African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali government.
This month, Somalia elected a new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The dual U.S.-Somali citizen and former prime minister is better known by his nickname, “Farmajo”.
The Horn of Africa country has been torn apart by civil war since 1991. Aid agencies are warning that a severe drought has placed large swathes of the country at risk of famine.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; editing by Jane Merriman)
truthtroubles.wordpress.com/ Just an average man who tries to do his best at being the kind of person the Bible tells us we are all suppose to be. Not perfect, never have been, don't expect anyone else to be perfect either. Always try to be very easy going type of a person if allowed to be.
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“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”~ Ronald Reagan.