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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

What we’re tracking on 11 April 2017

A nation in mourning began burying yesterday the victims of Sunday’s church bombings. “Women wailed as caskets marked with the word ‘martyr, were brought into the Mar Amina church in the coastal city of Alexandria on Monday, the footage broadcast on several Egyptian channels. Coptic priests, boy scouts, and mourners carrying flowers joined a procession into the church, the pace set by a beat of snare drums,” the Associated Press reports.

The Health Ministry’s latest count on casualties puts the death toll at 46 people, according to a report by Ahram Online quoting remarks by an official to the state-owned MENA newswire. An earlier statement by a ministry spokesperson put the toll at 45, including 28 in the Tanta attack and 17 in Alexandria.

The story continues to dominate headlines on Egypt this morning in the Western press. The dominant narrative: For Egypt’s Christian community, “Grief turns to anger” (Wall Street Journal, paywall) and “rage at abandonment” (Reuters).

More attacks foiled: Reprisals for the attack came swiftly as security forces killed seven men they alleged were Daesh terrorists planning attacks on Christians in Assiut, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The terrorists were found to be in possession of ammunition, weapons, and Daesh literature, the ministry said.

The Ismail cabinet voted yesterday to pay EGP 100k in compensation to each family that lost a loved one in the attacks. The immediate heir of any person killed in the attack will also be entitled to collect an “exceptional” pension of EGP 1,500;

Pope Francis’s two-day trip to Egypt starting 28 April is still on, the Vatican said, according to ANSA. "There is no doubt that the Holy Father will maintain his resolution to go,” Monsignor Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State, said. Al Azhar’s chief protocol advisor to the Vatican Kadri Abdelmottale put out a statement assuring the Pope’s safety. "I can guarantee that there won’t be any security problems," Abdelmottale told ANSA. Reuters counters with a piece citing diplomatic and Vatican sources that said the visit could be scrubbed or the itinerary changed at any time because of security worries.

World leaders continued to condemn the attacks and offer support to Egypt onMonday. Among them: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Czech President Miloš Zeman while the German Chancellor’s spokesperson put out a statement calling for Muslims in Egypt to stand in solidarity with the Christian minority, the AP reports. These also included sterner condemnations from Turkey, whose top cleric Mehmet Görmez slammed the attacks and offered condolences to the families, Turkey’s Yani Safak reports. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also issued an official condemnation, according to Qatar News Agency. BothIran and Hezbollahput out statements condemning the attacks.

Global Affairs Canada is advising against nonessential travel to Egypt following theattack, due to “the unpredictable security situation.” The advisory does not apply to the Red Sea coastal resorts, Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor, and Aswan along the upper Nile, where Global Affairs Canada says travellers should exercise a high degree of caution.

Apple CEO Tim Cook put out a tweet in Arabic that reads: “We are terribly sorry for the heinous attacks in Egypt and offer its people our condolences.”

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