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Terror group Hamas condemns ‘heinous’ Egypt church bombing

Speaking before second blast, spokesperson calls attack a ‘crime,’ wishes ‘safety and security’ for Egyptians

A general view shows people gathering outside the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Cairo, after a bomb blast struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
A general view shows people gathering outside the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Cairo, after a bomb blast struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Islamist Palestinian terror group Hamas decried a church bombing in Egypt’s Nile Delta as a “crime” on Sunday.

Two bombings at churches on Palm Sunday killed at least 37 people and wounded over 100, according to officials. They were claimed by the Islamic State group.

“Hamas strongly condemns the heinous crimes against churches and places of worship in Egypt, which targeted unarmed civilians and led to the death and injury of dozens,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement after a blast hit a church near Cairo, but before a second blast in Alexandria.

“Hamas wishes safety, security, stability and prosperity for Egypt and its people,” he added.

The first explosion in the town of Tanta north of Cairo killed at least 26 and wounded over 70 people as Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday. The second blast at a church in the coastal city of Alexandria killed 11 people and wounded dozens.

A general view shows people looking at the aftermath following a bomb blast which struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, north of Cairo, on April 9, 2017. (AFP Photo/Stringer)
A general view shows people looking at the aftermath following a bomb blast which struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, north of Cairo, on April 9, 2017. (AFP Photo/Stringer)

Hamas has carried out hundreds of bombing attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets in the West Bank and Israel, as well as launching several thousand missiles at Israeli towns and cities. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed in the attacks.

The group took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 after ousting forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Its relationship with neighboring Egypt has declined after the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Hamas, as an offshoot of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, enjoyed close relations with him and quickly fell into disfavor with the new Egyptian government that took over from Morsi.

Egypt is battling jihadist insurgents — including many aligned with IS — in the restive Sinai Peninsula and Cairo has quietly cooperated with Israel in blockading the coastal enclave since Hamas came to power in Gaza. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms smuggling.

Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers, police and civilians have been killed in attacks by jihadists, some of whom Cairo suspects are being given military support by Hamas.

Recently, Hamas has been attempting to improve ties with Cairo, according to reports.

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