In Selected Opinion

By Wall Street Journal Editorial

This is Easter season for Christians around the world, and so the Coptic Christians of Egypt gathered their families to attend Palm Sunday services that begin what is known as Holy Week. They settled in for some quiet reflection, but a bomb planted under a seat exploded and destroyed lives and families in a moment.

So it went Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, where a bomb in a church killed some 29 worshipers and wounded another 69, according to media reports. A suicide bomber also killed at least 18 and wounded 40 as he blew himself up as police blocked him from entering Saint Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, not far from Tanta. Police said they defused a second bomb they found on the cathedral grounds.

Islamic State claimed credit for both massacres, as it likes to do whether its minions were responsible or not. But the killings were the devil’s work, another case of the expanding jihadist campaign against Egypt’s Christian minority. Coptic Pope Tawadros had finished leading Palm Sunday services when the bomber struck at Saint Mark’s.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi denounced the attacks, but they raise more questions about his government’s competence in protecting the Copts. The jihadist assaults have become as regular as Easter or Christmas. Three policemen lost their lives trying to stop the bomber, but Egypt’s intelligence and security services appear to be on the back foot against the Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province. Copts make up about 10% of Egypt’s 92 million people, but many are looking to emigrate amid the jihadist terror wave.

The attacks also cast doubt on Mr. Sisi’s ability to protect Pope Francis when he visits Egypt later this month. The pope is a prime target as Islamists attempt to foment sectarian religious conflict. President Trump welcomed Mr. Sisi to the White House last week as a partner in the war against Islamic extremism, but that partnership needs to include protecting Egypt’s Christian minority.


Photo: Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion inside Mar Girgis church in Tanta, Egypt, April 09, 2017. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

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