Egypt Coptics plan low-key Easter celebrations

Egypt’s Coptic Church has announced it will cut back Easter celebrations over security concerns and in solidarity with the victims of the weekend bombings in which 45 worshippers died.

A church official told AFP that the customary decorations of the churches and meetings to exchange festival greetings have been cancelled.

The traditional handing out of sweets to children by Coptic Pope Tawadros II before the start of Easter mass on Sunday will also be cancelled.

So-called Islamic State claimed the Palm Sunday attacks on two churches.

Twenty-eight people died at the Mar Girgis church in Tanta, north of Cairo, and 17 people died at Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria, after a suicide bomber was prevented from entering the building.

The militants have warned of more attacks.

The violence comes ahead of Catholic Pope Francis’s first visit to Egypt, which a Vatican official said will go ahead as planned on April 28 and 29 despite the attacks.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi imposed a three-month state of the emergency after the bombings.