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AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
World News

Defiant but damaged Copts mark Good Friday

by Aaron James

It's after two Islamic State suicide bombers murdered 45 people - mostly Christians - at two churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.

The leader of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, led a Good Friday service at the coptic cathedral in the capital Cairo.

Security was tightened there and at other key Christian sites across Egypt after the double bombing - one which came only months after another suicide bomber murder 25 people at Cairo's cathedral in December.

The Egyptian parliament has also instated a national state of emergency, giving police more arrest and search powers, in the hope of preventing further attacks.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has also personally visited Pope Tawadros II to confirm his intentions to eradicate terrorism against minorities.

Coptic bishop Macarius told Reuters: "We can consider ourselves in a wave of persecution but the Church has gone through a lot in 20 centuries.

"There are waves of persecution. It reaches to the highest point like a pyramid and then it goes down again. We are at a very high point."

Meanwhile, American President Donald Trump used his Easter message to condemn last week's IS attack on Christians in Egypt, and highlight the need for greater religious freedom there and in other countries where believers are supressed.

"We condemn this barbaric attack, we mourn for those who lost loved ones, and we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow," he said.

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