The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2017
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Al Sisi of Egypt
President Donald J. Trump spoke yesterday with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt to convey his deepest condolences to Egypt and to the families who lost loved ones in the heinous terrorist attacks against Christian churches on Palm Sunday. President Trump condemned the attacks that killed and injured dozens of Egyptians. The President also expressed his confidence in President Al Sisi’s commitment to protect Christians and all Egyptians.
Egypt’s president called for a three-month state of emergency Sunday after at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 more were injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Coptic Christian churches, each carried out by the ISIS terror group.
Sunday’s first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.
Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.
A second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria — left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II — leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria — finished services, but aides told local media that he was unharmed.
At least three police officers were killed in the St. Mark’s attack, the ministry told The Associated Press.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Aamaq media agency, following the group’s recent video vowing to step up attacks against Christians, who the group describes as “infidels” empowering the West against Muslims.
President Donald Trump tweeted that he is “so sad to hear of the terrorist attack” against the U.S. ally but added that he has “great confidence” that el-Sissi, “will handle the situation properly.” The two leaders met at the White House on April 3.
The State Department issued its own statement condemning the attacks, which it called “barbaric.” “The United States will continue to support Egypt’s security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism,” the statement said.
Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar — the leading center of learning in Sunni Islam — condemned the attacks, calling them a “despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.”
Pope Francis decried the bombings, expressing “deep condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic church and all of the dear Egyptian nation.” Word of the attacks came as Francis was holding Palm Sunday services in St. Peter’s Square.
Both Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement ruling neighboring Gaza also condemned the bombings.
Turkey also condemned the attacks. Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also published a statement denouncing the attack on St. George Church.”We convey our condolences to the bereaved families and the whole people of Egypt.”