A bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 49 during Sunday Mass, one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the minority religion in recent memory and a grim reminder of Egypt’s difficult struggle to restore security and stability after nearly six years of turmoil. The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six police officers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack. However, Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past. The attack drew condemnation from political and religious leaders and led President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to declare three days of national mourning.
The pain felt by Egyptians now will not go to waste, but will instead result in an uncompromising decisiveness to hunt down and bring to trial whoever helped — through inciting, facilitating, participating or executing — in this heinous crime.
Regardless of who is behind the bombing, the attack is likely to deal a setback to Egypt’s struggle to regain normalcy and revive its ailing economy since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011. Moreover, the attacks this past week are almost certain to undermine the modest recovery made in recent months by the vital tourism sector. It comes as the president fights battles on several fronts. His economic reforms have angered the poor, a bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood has seen thousands jailed, and an insurgency rages in Northern Sinai, led by the Egyptian branch of Islamic State.