Besides the declaration of a state of emergency, there are several significant events and measures taken since the bombings: [please note all new updates will be at the very end of this post]
First: By the Regime:
- The declaration has been sent to parliament for approval. According to the constitution, there should have been an approval from parliament before the declaration and before it was published in newspapers – but that did not happen.
- Paliament unanimously approved the declaration, even though some had demanded that they be told first [eg. Abdel Rahim Ali].
- The government began rebuilding the St. Mark Church in Alexandria.
- Four days after the attacks, President Sisi visited Pope Tawadros to offer his condolences.
- Police identified Alexandria church suicide bomber as 30-year-old Mahmoud Hassan Mubarak Abdullah, petrol worker who lived in Suez and is asking people’s help in finding his collaborators. The MOI stated that there were 9 of them in that terrorist cell and that they planned to kill the Pope in his car if the church bomb failed.
- As part of the emergency laws, the president appointed extreme pro-government and former head of the journalism union, journalist Makram Mohammed Ahmed as head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, Karam Jaber as president of the National Press Agency and Hussein Zain as head of media.
- Mohammed Ramadan, lawyer and human rights activist, has been sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison and 5 years ban from the internet for ‘insulting President Sisi.’
- The parliamentarian legislative committee is now discussing the amendment of the Emergency Law, allowing for arrest without authorization as well as detention for an open period without presenting the detainee to the prosecution or the judiciary.
Second: By others:
- Lawyer Khaled Ali said he filed a complaint April 11th, with the Public Prosecutor #4442 petitions, against the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies because they referred the islands agreement to parliament.
- On the same day as the bombings, ISIL immediately announced responsibility, naming the suicide bombed as Abul Baraa Al Masri.
Third: By Copts:
- The Minya Bishophric, headed by Bishop Macarius, announced that the church will not accept visitors for holiday greetings as it always does, but will remain open for prayers and greet people coming to pay their respects to the martyrs. This was followed by Bishop Anba Raphael, Bishop of Central Cairo Churches, posting on his Facebook page saying his churches will cancel celebrations, and then they were followed by Tanta Bishophric that issued a similar statement. Finally, the Orthodox Church itself announced that the Pope and the Holy See have decided to also not accept holdiay greetings in all its churches and bishophrics across the country. This had been a demand by many Copts for the Christmas bombings of the Botrosiya in Cairo. [Text of the church statement in Arabic]
- A student named Adel hanged himself in grief over the death of his father and brother in the Alexandria church bombing.
- Eyewitness videos from Alexandria church.
- Father Boulos George gave a message of love and forgiveness to ‘those who kill us.’
- Many Copts, including priests, have stated to the media that they welcome death and ‘martydom’ because it is just a response to God’s call for them. In fact Father Daoud Lami stated that there are 12 million Copts waiting for martydom! It even became a joke on social media where one person posted that he was sorry he was giving condolences to Copts and that it seems he should have said: “May God blow you up and make you happy”.In response to these repeated martyrdom statements, Bishop Rafael tried to explain that no, we really love life but if called then we welcome it but we are not suicidal and we don’t need it. 🙂
Gallery of images [all images in this gallery are copyright of Amir Roshdy Photography from the church in Tanta, unless otherwise stated]
The Absurdest quotes of the week:
- «OnTv»: The Prime Minister tasked the Minister of Higher Education to follow up the bombing of the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria.
«أون تي في»: رئيس الوزراء يُكلف وزير التعليم العالي بمتابعة تفجير الكنيسة المرقسية بالإسكندرية
- “The incident happened.. it’s unbelievable that I keep seeing it played over and over on all TV channels!”
– President Sisi
الواقعة حصلت مش معقول أشوفها طول اليوم بتتكرر في كل القنوات
- “This is a failed attempt at striking Egypt.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Also Minister of Foreign Affairs on Twitter. Obnoxious?? maybe it’s just a case of lost in translation:
- “Those who blew up the churches are followers of Pharaoh who have no religion.”
Minister of Endowments
وزير الأوقاف: «مفجرو الكنائس من أتباع فرعون لا دين لهم ولا ملة»
- “We have not given the ministry of interior their dues. Those responsible for that are al Azhar and the media.”
– Parliament after the bombings.
النواب:”قصرنافي حق الداخليةوالأزهروالإعلام مسؤولون”
- “We are in a state of war.. no one should ask what the price of sugar is.”
– TV host Amani Al Khayyat
أماني الخياط “إحنا في حالة حرب.. ومحدش يسأل كيلو السكر بكام
Update April 17:
- Kom El Loofi: this village continues to be under siege and very tense. Police are there to keep the peace but still extremists keep pelting Coptic homes with stones. Even the women and children are participating in the pelting. A Coptic family tried to leave but police prevented them The police does not want the headache of having Copts ‘forcibly displaced’ again after Al Areesh so they are preventing them from leaving. However another Coptic home was burnt down.
Update April 14-16:
- Deacons in Alexandria during Easter mass, carried pictures of their colleagues who died in the St. Mark bombing.
- Wounded victims of the St. George Church in Tanta are in the Tanta military hospital. They were given a private ceremony on Good Friday, April 14th, with food and visits by hospital personnel. Images by Nader Shukri
- On Good Friday, the usually full church of St. Simeon in Zabbaleen, downtown Cairo, had a handful of attendees following the explosions. However the St. Mark Church in Tanta that witnessed the explosion overflowed with people.
- Muslims held candle light vigils outside the church in Tanta.
Update April 13:
- Yaser ElDesouki, governor of Assiut, cancels the Annual Assiut Day celebrations in solidarity for the victims of the two church bombings.
- Police arrested some members of the Qena cell which allegedly planned and executed the two church bombings. That particular cell came from a village called Al Showaikhat and they work in the petroleum industry.
- One of those arrested who lives in Ras Ghareb, Red Sea, gave himself up to the police and claimed he was innocent. In a video he gave his family before giving himself up he stated that he had had a heart attack and had not left the village since three months ago.
- Coptic Kom Al Loofi villagers had been praying in a building since their homes were burnt by Islamist extremists a few months ago. They prayed the Bascha today on Passion Week, but even though they were surrounded by police to guard them, upon leaving, extremists were wating for them in side streets and they pelted them with stones. Four were injured. The situation remains tense. Later in the day, extremists burnt down two empty homes of two Copts at the edges of the village.
It should be noted that when the events first happened in June of last year, the police refused to give permission to open the Bishophric building for prayers, for fear of the extremists.
Update May 26:
- Palm Sunday massacre claims two other victims: Bola Georgy who was receiving medical care in Germany but died, and a week earlier, Raymond Yousef who died from complications sustained during the attack.