BREAKING: Palm Sunday Bombings at Coptic Churches in Egypt Kill More than Thirty

Two separate bombings have killed more than thirty Coptic Christians who were gathered to worship on this Palm Sunday.

Six people were killed when an explosion struck outside St Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria, according to official sources.

Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Church, had been attending mass inside.

Twenty-five people had died in an earlier blast at St George’s Coptic church, in the city of Tanta, about 130km (80 miles) south-east.

According to state media, Pope Tawadros is unhurt. His secretary said the attack in Alexandria was carried out by a suicide bomber who struck outside the church.

After the first explosion in Tanta, provincial governor Ahmad Deif told the state-run Nile News channel: “Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up.”

There are no reports of anyone taking credit for the attacks, but Coptic Christians have been scapegoated by radical Islamists for some time now.

The blasts appear to have been timed for maximum impact, as people gathered to mark Palm Sunday.

Egyptian security forces had been put on alert in anticipation of attacks.

Pope Francis, who is due to visit Egypt later this month, has condemned the attack.

Violence against Coptic Christians has risen in recent years, especially since 2013, when the military overthrew the elected president and launched a crackdown against Islamists.

Some supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow.

In December last year, 25 people died when a bomb exploded at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo during a service.

And in February, militants from the Islamic State group warned of more attacks against Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s population.

The explosion occurred as Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

Pre-meditated mass murder.