President Lungu sends a messages of condolences to Egyptian President

"She was protecting Christians who were also praying in the Church".

In response, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a nationwide state of emergency, the first since security forces violently dispersed anti-government protests in 2013, killing hundreds.

Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch said el-Sissi "seems to think that more repression of all Egyptians is the simple answer to terrorist attacks".

The first attack took place in the Saint George church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, north of Cairo, killing 27 and wounding at least 78, the Ministry of Health said.

At another church, St. Mark's in Alexandria, a suicide bomber, denied entrance, detonates himself outside the main gate.

The second attack, just hours after, was at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.

The two deadly bombings targeting Coptic Christian churches were aimed at a vulnerable religious minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday.

On a visit to Algeria, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini expressed solidarity with the Egyptian government and people in the fight against terrorism and stressed that those responsible for the attacks must be held accountable.

In May that year, clashes between Muslims and Copts left 15 dead in the working-class Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba where two churches were attacked.

Franciscan Fr. Marco Tasca noted that the pontiff "very firmly confirmed his trip to Egypt", and that he is "very informed" on what is going on in the country.The Vatican leader's visit will in part be focused on fostering Catholic-Muslim dialog, aiming to halt the stream of violence that has been directed toward Christians in the country, who make up only 10 percent of the population.

President Obama did not hide his disapproval of el-Sisi, who came to power in July 2013 when the Egyptian army ousted the elected, but hugely unpopular, president - Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"I say to our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters: Do not be sad", Fathi told the TV host. The suspected suicide bombers, identified as Abu al-Baraa al-Masri and Abu Ishaaq al-Masri, were believed to have been trained by jihadists in Syria before crossing back to Egypt, The Telegraph reports.

The following day, al-Sisi formally decreed a three-month state of emergency, giving the armed forces responsibility for preserving security throughout the country and protecting private and public property.

Sisi's proposal was unanimously approved by the country's parliament on Tuesday (11 April) and will last for three months.

The cabinet already enforced it on Monday but parliamentary approval was required in accordance with the constitution.

Egypt's emergency law, which dates to 1958, gives the authorities sweeping powers to arrest, detain, try, and sentence suspects with nearly no judicial review.

"Under the current emergency law, civilians can be transferred to State Security Emergency Courts without an appeal process for State Security Emergency Court verdicts, thereby combating terrorists and bringing perpetrators to justice", said Tariq Fahmy, professor of political science at Cairo University.

Egyptians walk past blood stains in a street near a church in Alexandria after a bomb blast struck worshipers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday on April 9, 2017.