ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt church bombings killing 36, injuring 100; Church leaders condemn attacks

A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion in Tanta, Egypt, during a Palm Sunday service. Two blasts this morning have claimed at least 36 lives so far.Reuters

At least 36 people have been killed and over 100 injured in two bombings at Coptic churches in Egypt, during Palm Sunday services. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and Church leaders have publicly mourned the loss of life.

The first bombing, in Tanta, a Nile Delta city less than 100 kilometres outside Cairo, killed at least 25 and injured at least 78, according to Egypt's ministry of health.

Just hours later a second bombing took place from a suicide bomber in Alexandria, at St Mark's Cathederal, the historic seat of Coptic Pope Tawadros II. The blast killed 11, including three police officers, and injured 25. The Coptic Pope was unharmed.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the two bombings.

Archbishop of Canterbury condemned the 'Evil attacks at St George's Tanta Egypt. As we come to Easter pray for victims, the justice of the cross, hope & healing of resurrection,' in a statement on Twitter.

The Church of England also shared a prayer of grief:

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church posted on Twitter:

'15 dead at #Tanta #CopticChurchBombing. May they be joyfully welcomed into the Heavenly Jerusalem as Christ was. Praying for the community.'

He later posted: 'Second #CopticChurchBombing attempt in #Alexandria. A truly testing day for #Egypt's #Christians. Praying for all the faithful there.'

He shared an image of a palm cross with the hashtag: #prayforTanta.

Additional reporting by Reuters