Coverage of the Palm Sunday attacks continues
Sunday’s terror attacks on Christians in Alexandria and Tanta topped headlines on Egypt once again this morning. Two themes pervaded the coverage: Disappointment and anger from Coptic Christians who feel unsafe, and analysis on Daesh’s strategy and the forces which compelled its brazen attack.
Mourning and criticism: Amina Ismail put out two stories for Reuters on the feeling of rage and abandonment felt by Christian families mourning their dead. She cites people’s criticism of what they claim were lax security measures on Sunday and the anger expressed at security forces in the morgues. CNN’s Monique El-Faizy was overly alarmist, suggesting that the attacks could lead to outright dissent from a frustrated Christian population. “Copts are increasingly willing to criticize both Sisi and church leadership,” she writes. El-Faizy didn’t pull any punches when criticizing the authorities, who she believes will not be able to do much despite the state of emergency, as they have failed to protect their own security forces in Sinai. The Associated Press is characterizing the attack as a blow to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s image among Christians, who are now doubting his ability to protect them.
Analysts are saying the bombings in Egypt suggest Daesh are finding themselves coming under increasing pressure in Iraq and Syria, according to the AFP. Daesh “has been unable to seize population centres [in Sinai], unlike its early gains in Iraq and Syria, and it has also lost top militants to Egyptian military strikes in recent months.” Sunday’s attacks followed a recent shift in Daesh’s strategy from December when it first began targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt as part of spectacular attacks away from Iraq and Syria “in an attempt to regain the narrative, boost morale and win recruits,” Jantzen Garnett, an expert on the jihadists with the Navanti Group, says.
Beyond acting out in the face of setbacks in Sinai, Iraq, Syria and Libya, the Financial Times argues that fomenting sectarian violence has always been the most crucial strategy adopted by Daesh, as it is the fuse by which regional chaos occurs and in which it thrives.
Other stories following up on the attacks that are worth noting in brief include:
- US President Donald Trump’s call to President El Sisi goes beyond standard protocol and demonstrates just how close both leaders have become, according to Haaretz.
- Police officers who were killed during the attack receiving tributes in the foreign press. Al Arabiya put out pictures of Emad El Rakaybi who blocked the entry of the bomber in St. Mark’s Cathedral, while the Independent is profiling 55-year-old Nagwa Abdel-Aleem, who lost her life in the same attack.
- Christian news outlet Aleteia is noting an update that an altar boy who was reported to have been killed in the attack is alive.
- The Associated Press is running an educational piece on who Coptic Egyptians are.
- Have you heard of the Coptic Saint Verena? She apparently introduced hygienic practices to Europeans, according to Al Arabiya.