Tag Archives: Egypt

PHOTO SPEAKS: Africa’s Week in Pictures

A selected compilation of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week.

On Tuesday, guards of honour stand to attention in Nairobi as visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani walks past.

The following day, people gather on a green square in Khartoum, Sudan, to revel at an air parade staged by the Saudi Air Force.

Young people take to playing beach football in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia on Sunday.

Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata and wife Purity Rionoripo pose on Monday in Nairobi with one of the gold medals they won at the Paris marathon.

Pigeons fly in front of the electoral campaign posters for the upcoming legislative election in Algiers, Algeria on Wednesday.
South African President Jacob Zuma turned 75 on Wednesday and he by showing off his dance moves.

While Mr Zuma danced, protestors across the country, such as this opposition supporter, called him to step down.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe sported a new short hair cut, prompting comments on social media that he has taken after Mr Zuma.

On Monday, Egyptian priests in Alexandria pray at the funeral for victims of an attack on a Coptic orthodox monastery.

This woman in Tunis holds a candle in memory of the victims of the monastery bombing.

Practising what may be a dying art, this man weaves a “baoule” loincloth in the village of N’gbekro, Ivory Coast.

Images courtesy of AFP, BBC, EPA, Getty Images and Reuters

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ISIS Take Responsibility For Palm Sunday Attacks on Two Churches in Egypt

DENSDOME- ​ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 43 at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday — strikes against a vulnerable minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.

In a statement issued on the Telegram messaging platform and circulated by several ISIS supporters, the militant group identified the suicide bombers as Egyptian nationals. Egyptian authorities have not confirmed the bombers’ nationalities.

ISIS warned of more attacks in its statement. “The Crusaders and their apostate followers must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large, and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God is willing,” the group said in Arabic.

A three-month state of emergency will be declared following the bombing, after legal and constitutional measures have been completed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Sunday.

How the attacks happened


The bombings came on the Sunday before Easter, the day that marks the start for response.

The first blast ripped through a Palm Sunday service at St. George’s Church in the northern city of Tanta, killing 27 people and wounding 78 others, state TV reported. An explosive device had been planted under a seat in the main prayer hall, it said.

News footage from Tanta showed people gathering at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switched to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.

“Everything is destroyed inside the church,” said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the bombing. Its marble pillars were covered with blood, he said.

Kamel said that most of the injured appeared to be priests and members of the choir.

Not long afterward, at least 16 people were killed and 41 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, according to two state news outlets.

Police officers who had been posted outside the church stopped a man wearing an explosive belt from entering the church, the Interior Ministry said. At least two officers, a man and a woman, were killed, along with civilians and other police staff.

Egyptian blogger Maged Butter said he saw five or six ambulances and bloodstains 100 meters away from the site of the explosion, which happened near the church gate.

He said women were crying and looking for their loved ones and were yelling at police for “not protecting” them.

“Every now and then, I see a person crying — I think they are Christian — and they keep saying: ‘have you seen my family? Have you seen my family?'” Butter said.

Egypt’s response

The Egyptian President declared three days of nationwide mourning following the suicide bombings.

In response to the attack, the country will form a supreme council to counter terrorism and extremism, Sisi said on state television Sunday after an emergency meeting of the country’s National Defense Council.

“We have to pay attention because of Egypt and Egypt’s future. We know this is a big sacrifice but we are capable of facing it,” he said.

“The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development,” the President said in a statement.

Nile and Masriya TV, Egyptian state outlets, aired black banners in the upper left of their newscasts to signify mourning for the victims of both explosions.

‘Bodies and body parts everywhere’

Fadi Sami heard about the Tanta bombing as he sat in the Alexandria cathedral on Sunday. The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was leading Palm Sunday prayers.

Though no one announced the Tanta news, Sami said he could hear the sadness in the pope’s voice. He left as the pope finished the sermon. Twenty minutes later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the church.

“I came back and the area was covered in smoke. The stores around the church were all destroyed,” he said. “There were bodies and body parts everywhere, outside and inside the gate. I saw a man put together what was left of his son in a bag.”

Women trying to reach loved ones after the attack in Alexandria

Alexandria sits on the Mediterranean and has a large Christian population. Downtown is usually busy but was relatively quiet on Sunday because of the holiday. “Thank God it is a Sunday, and many shops are closed,” Butter said.

A persecuted minority

Copts in Egypt have faced persecution and discrimination that has spiked since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011. Dozens have been killed in sectarian violence. In December, an attack at a Coptic church in Cairo killed 25 people.

Coptic churches and homes have been set on fire, members of the Coptic minority have been physically attacked, and their property has been looted, rights group Amnesty International reported in March.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million. They base their theology on the teachings of the apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt. Tanta is roughly 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Cairo, in the Nile delta.

International condemnation

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attacks and offered his sympathies to the victims and to the country in a statement through a spokesman.

Guterres “wishes a quick recovery to those injured and hopes that the perpetrators of this horrific terrorist act will be swiftly identified and brought to justice,” said the spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric.

The US State Department also issued a rebuke, calling the bombings “barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship.”

“The United States will continue to support Egypt’s security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism,” said acting spokesperson Mark Toner.

Rescue workers help a victim of the attack in Alexandria

The bombings came days after US President Donald Trump welcomed Sisi to Washington and expressed his support for Egypt. Among the topics of mutual concern were terrorism and ISIS. Trump condemned Sunday’s attacks on Twitter and said he has “great confidence Sisi will handle the situation properly.”

Sisi met Saturday with a US congressional delegation led by US Rep. Darrell Issa, the Egyptian government said. The meeting addressed Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts and a strategy to fight terror while encouraging religious tolerance and acceptance of others.

On Sunday, President Trump called Sisi from Air Force One to offer his condolences, a senior administration official told CNN.

Bereaved Egyptians look on in shock inside Mar Girgis church in Tanta

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Cairo this month, where he will meet with various religious leaders, including the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. He expressed his grief after the church attack.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called the attacks “evil” and urged people to pray for the victims. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks and offered his condolences to Sisi, according to Russia’s state-run Tass.

Credits: CNN

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New Seven Wonders of the World (2016)

​In 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare the New Seven Wonders of the World. The following list of seven winners is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage.

Great Wall of China (China)

Built between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century, the Great Wall of China is a stone-and-earth fortification created to protect the borders of the Chinese Empire from invading Mongols. The Great Wall is actually a succession of multiple walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles, making it the world’s longest manmade structure.

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro)

The Art Deco-style Christ the Redeemer statue has been looming over the Brazilians from upon Corcovado mountain in an awe-inspiring state of eternal blessing since 1931. The 130-foot reinforced concrete-and-soapstone statue was designed by Heitor da Silva Costa and cost approximately $250,000 to build – much of the money was raised through donations. The statue has become an easily recognized icon for Rio and Brazil.

Machu Picchu (Peru) 

Machu Picchu, an Incan city of sparkling granite precariously perched between 2 towering Andean peaks, is thought by scholars to have been a sacred archaeological center for the nearby Incan capital of Cusco. Built at the peak of the Incan Empire in the mid-1400s, this mountain citadel was later abandoned by the Incas. The site remained unknown except to locals until 1911, when it was rediscovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham. The site can only be reached by foot, train or helicopter; most visitors visit by train from nearby Cusco.

Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)

The genius and adaptability of Mayan culture can be seen in the splendid ruins of Chichen Itza. This powerful city, a trading center for cloth, slaves, honey and salt, flourished from approximately 800 to 1200, and acted as the political and economic hub of the Mayan civilization. The most familiar ruin at the site is El Caracol, a sophisticated astronomical observatory.

The Roman Colosseum (Rome)

Rome’s, if not Italy’s, most enduring icon is undoubtedly its Colosseum. Built between A.D. 70 and 80 A.D., it was in use for some 500 years. The elliptical structure sat nearly 50,000 spectators, who gathered to watch the gladiatorial events as well as other public spectacles, including battle reenactments, animal hunts and executions. Earthquakes and stone-robbers have left the Colosseum in a state of ruin, but portions of the structure remain open to tourists, and its design still influences the construction of modern-day amphitheaters, some 2,000 years later.

Taj Majal (Agra, India)

A mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Majal was built between 1632 and 1648. Considered the most perfect specimen of Muslim art in India, the white-marble Taj Majal actually represents a number of architectural styles, including Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Indian. The Taj Majal also encompasses formal gardens of raised pathways, sunken flower beds and a linear reflecting pool.

Petra (Jordan)

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, Petra was the capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV, and likely existed in its prime from 9 B.C. to A.D. 40. The members of this civilization proved to be early experts in manipulating water technology, constructing intricate tunnels and water chambers, which helped create an pseudo-oasis. A number of incredible structures carved into stone, a 4,000-seat amphitheater and the El-Deir monastery have also helped the site earn its fame.

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