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Egyptian army to oversee restoration of churches targeted on Palm Sunday

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Apr 2017
Sobhi and Pope Tawadros II
Egypt's defense minister Sedki Sobhi (L) and Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark Pope Tawadros II (R) during a Thursday meeting (Photo Courtesy of Egypt army spokesman page on Facebook)
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Egypt's Armed Forces will pay for and oversee the restoration of the two Egyptian churches in Tanta and Alexandria that were targeted by deadly suicide bombings on Palm Sunday, army spokesman Tamer El-Refaie announced on Thursday.

Egypt's defence minister Sedki Sobhi has ordered the restoration of Tanta’s Mar Girgis Cathedral and Alexandria's St Mark's Cathedral upon the instructions of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The extent of the damage to the two churches is not yet clear.

The order came following a visit by Sobhi to El-Galaa Military Hospital, where several of those injured in the attacks, which killed 46 people and injured dozens more, have received treatment.

Sobhi later visited the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II to offer condolences, stressing that Egypt will win its fight against terrorism. 

Sobhi said that this "treacherous act of terrorism" will not affect the unity of Egyptians, but actually strengthen the solidarity that exists between all segments of the Egyptian population.

He affirmed that the Egyptian people, along with the army and police, will move forward with their aim to eliminate terrorism and achieve peace, security, and development nationwide.

The Palm Sunday bombings were the deadliest attacks on civilians in the country's recent memory.

This is not the first time that the army has taken charge of reconstructing churches targeted by terrorism in recent years.

In December, the army restored St Peter and St Paul’s Church, which was the target of a terrorist attack earlier that month that killed 29 people.

In late 2016, the army completed the restoration of several churches attacked in August 2013 on the day of the dispersals of two Cairo sit-ins protesting the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

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