Dozens killed as 2 attacks target Coptic Christians in Egypt

first_imgGovernment | Nation & World | National News | NPR News | Public SafetyDozens killed as 2 attacks target Coptic Christians in EgyptApril 9, 2017 by Jason Slotkin and James Doubek, NPR News Share:Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET At least 44 people were killed and more than 100 injured after suspected suicide bombings in two different Egyptian cities at Coptic Christian churches Sunday.The interior ministry said one of the explosions was a bombing in Mar Gerges church in Tanta, a city in the north of Egypt in the Nile Delta, located between Cairo and Alexandria. The church was full at the time with worshippers observing Coptic Christian Palm Sunday.Health ministry spokesman Khaled Mujahed told Egyptian state television that at least 27 people were killed and 78 injured.Just hours later and about 80 miles away in Alexandria, a second explosion outside the Mar Markas church killed 16 people and injured 41 others, Mujahed confirmed to state television.NPR’s Jane Arraf adds that the Coptic Pope was in the building, but unharmed by the attack.Reporter Bel Trew, Egypt correspondent for the Times of London, told NPR that the pope was leading prayers when the suspected bomber attempted to enter the church. Security forces managed to keep the attacker outside, but at least three officers were killed.The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both explosions through its semi-official Amaq news agency.In a television address, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced his intentions to declare a state of emergency.“A series of steps will be taken, most importantly, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitution steps are taken,” el-Sissi said during the live address.Jane explains the announcement to our Newscast unit:“…el-Sissi told Egyptians he was deploying more soldiers to protect public buildings and churches after the attacks.“And he said he plans to impose a three-month state of emergency across the country. Parliament would have to approve the measure, which is already in place in Sinai province.“Previous emergency measures have allowed police to arrest people without charge, banned large gatherings and tightened censorship.”Condemnations of attacks came from the region and further abroad.Both Israel and the Gaza’s Hamas leadership decried the attacks.Pope Francis, in his Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican, mentioned the bombings and people who “suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike.” He is scheduled to visit Egypt at the end of April.…confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2017And President Trump tweeted: “So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns,” while expressing his “great confidence” in el-Sissi. Trump had hosted el-Sissi at the White House last week.Christians in Egypt have been targeted before in attacks by Islamist extremists. In December, 25 people died when a bomb exploded during Sunday mass in Cairo, as NPR’s Bill Chappell reported. At the time it was “the deadliest attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in years,” he notes.Two years ago, ISIS released a video appearing to show a mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.And on New Year’s Day in 2011, a bombing at a church in Alexandria killed at least 21 people, as Jane noted.Christians make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Muslim population and most Christians in Egypt are Coptic Christians, of the Coptic Orthodox Church.Coptic Christians observe Palm Sunday and other religious holidays on a different schedule because they follow the Julian calendar, not the more widely accepted Gregorian calendar. Copts trace their ancestry back to the founding of the Church of Alexandria by St. Mark and are one of the oldest denominations in the Christian faith. The word “Copt” comes from the an ancient Pharaonic language and roughly translates to “Egyptian.” The Coptic Church, with its own clergy and a distinct pope, holds similar beliefs with the other Orthodox churches, though it diverges in some teachings, most predominantly concerning the nature of Christ.Ahmed Abuhamda contributed to this report.This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:last_img read more

State ombudsman says Board of Fisheries violated open meetings law

first_imgFisheries | SouthcentralState ombudsman says Board of Fisheries violated open meetings lawSeptember 5, 2019 by Renee Gross, KBBI – Homer Share:Alaska Board of Fisheries members meet in Anchorage for a work session earlier this year. (Photo by Aaron Bolton, KBBI – Homer)The Alaska Board of Fisheries violated the state’s open meetings law. That’s according to Alaska’s ombudsman that released a critical report on September 3,  saying the board improperly shifted the location of its Cook Inlet finfish meeting earlier this year with little public notice — the location issue is expected to be revisited again next month.When the Board of Fish move its Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting from Kenai to Anchorage – it took a lot of people by surprise. Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel was one of them.  Gabriel is also longtime commercial fisherman.“It wasn’t on the agenda,” he said. “We just happened to get a heads up that they were going to consider that later in the meeting.”This is a big deal because for nearly two decades, these finfish meetings — which set fishing regulations for commercial, sports and subsistence fishing in Upper Cook Inlet —  have been held in Anchorage.  The issue has long been a point of contention for Cook Inlet fishermen who say that the cost of travelling to Anchorage for the meetings is exorbitant.Gabriel said fishermen from outside of Anchorage have been asking for the meetings to be moved for years.“These meetings last for two weeks,” he said.”  “That’s a commitment for folks to go up there and participate.”Last year, the board decided to rotate the location of the meeting between Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su.Gabriel said  he thought the fight was finished after the board voted last year to hold its 2020 meeting on the Kenai Peninsula. But then word came that the board was poised to reconsider at its January meeting in Anchorage. Gabriel and other area officials drove up to speak to board members. But then the message changed again. “We were told that they were not going to have the vote that day. Apparently they had some second thoughts about the public notice part of it. So we turned around and came home,” he said.After they left the board did vote after all. By a single vote it changed the location of the 2020 meeting back to Anchorage. Board of Fish Chair Reed Morisky did not reply to a request for comment Wednesday. But in meeting tape from January, he admitted there had been some confusion in the room.“So, I take full responsibility for that, there was no intent to mislead,” Morisky said.State investigators couldn’t account for the last-minute change, either.“He was not able to tell the investigator what the circumstances were that changed,” said Alaska State Ombudsman Kate Burkhart.She said she looked into the whole affair following a complaint to her office.“It really did not follow the spirit of the law, which is that public entities do the public’s work in public,” she said.The ombudsman advised the board to hold a fresh vote at its October meeting.Board of Fish Chair Reed Morisky wrote a letter to the ombudsman pledging the rotating meeting location policy will be revisited next month.But Gabriel  said he doesn’t have a lot of faith the board will change course.Still, he said he’s grateful the ombudsman stepped in. Share this story:last_img read more