A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion killed at least 21 in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. (Reuters)
The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on two Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday which have killed at least 44 people.
The militant group announced responsibility for the two bombings via its news agency Amaq on social media.
The two attacks, the first inside St George's Church in Tanta and the second at the perimeter of St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, killed at least 44 people and injured over 100, the largest coordinated terrorist attack targeting Egyptian Christians.
The group had previously claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that targeted St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Cairo in December which killed at least 25 Christians, most women and children.
In February, the group released a video in which it vowed to carry out more attacks on Egyptian Christians, describing the attack on St Peter and St Paul's Church as "just the beginning.”
The same month witnessed an exodus of hundreds of Christian families from North Sinai following several militant killings targeting the community.
In March, the founder of IS-affiliated group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Salem Salma El-Hamdeen, also known as Abu Anas El-Ansari, was killed by Egypt's armed forces in an airstrike.
The military announced recently that it had taken full control of the Mount Halal area, which was considered one of the key centres of terrorist activity in Sinai.
Correction: death toll revised from 45 to 44 following official confirmation