CHRISTIANS have cancelled Easter celebrations fearing Islamic State (ISIS) will launch a terror attack.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came months after the terrorists vowed to eradicate Christianity from Egypt.
Only low-key church services are expected to go ahead, under armed guard.
One Egyptian Christian says the community is scared ISIS will carry out another attack on Saturday night as the main Easter services start.
“Safety is not guaranteed in spite of all the extra security measurements, people are worried someone could sneak into a church and leave a bomb. However, I was in Church last night and we had lots of extra security placed there by the security department in our neighbourhood.
“It is too early to tell what the outcome of the state of emergency will be but it will give the government free hand to take extra measures such as instantly capturing of suspects and trying to stop suspects before they commit attacks.
“We do have strong concerns especially Saturday evening when the main Easter service starts and ends at midnight. It is one of the most heavily attended services of the year.
“It has been announced by Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic that church services will take place but no other celebrations.”
The Egyptian government has deployed police to churches across the country with security barriers and metal detectors in place to protect those attending services.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government has enforced a state of emergency in an effort to protect Christians and stop further ISIS attacks.
The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese confirmed celebrations will only be limited to the liturgical prayers “without any festive manifestations” this year.
ISIS has waged a low-level war against soldiers and police in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for years but it is increasingly targeting Christians and broadening its reach into Egypt’s mainland.
The increased threat has forced some Christians to leave their homes with others determined to remain defiant in the face of terror.
The Christian added: “A few people have been worried and talked about leaving but committed active Christians with a strong belief want to stay. They are determined to go to church in spite of the threats.”
Religious minorities are increasingly targeted by Sunni Islamist militants, posing a challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has pledged to protect them as part of his campaign against extremism.
Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s 90 million people, have long complained of discrimination under successive Egyptian leaders.
One Christian leader based in Cairo told Express.co.uk the Christian community faces persecution due to misconceptions.
Again declining to reveal his identity for fear of reprisals, he said: “In large parts of the society there is a massive misconception concerning the Christian faith.
It comes as Egypt’s interior ministry on Thursday identified the suicide bomber in the church bombing in the city of Tanta as Mamdouh Amin Mohamed Baghdadi, a resident of Qena, south of Cairo.
A ministry statement said Baghdadi was born in 1977 and was one of 19 suspected militants believed to belong to a cell behind a December suicide bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral, another attack claimed by ISIS.
The statement said the authorities had arrested three of the 19 suspected militants in the cell.