Pope Francis condemns Islamic State-inspired terror attacks on Egyptian Christians

(BREITBART) — On Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the Islamist Palm Sunday terror attacks on two Coptic churches that killed at least 37 people and injured nearly 60 others, Vatican Radio reported.

After his weekly Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis prayed that the Lord “convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement from the organization’s Amaq news agency. “Islamic State squads carried out the attacks on two churches in Tanta and Alexandria,” the statement declared.

The first explosion in Tanta, about 70 miles north of Cairo, killed at least 26 worshippers at the Mar Girgis (Saint George) Coptic Church.

The blast occurred “in the front rows, near the altar, during the mass,” officials reported, and more than 70 people were injured. Footage from the site shows crowds gathered around bodies and large blood stains on the pews and church walls.

The second bombing took place hours later in front of Saint Mark’s Church in the coastal city of Alexandria, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 30, according to Egypt’s health ministry.

“We pray for the victims claimed this morning,” Pope Francis said in remarks to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass and the Angelus prayer.