The Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah issued a statement Sunday condemning the terrorist attacks that targeted two Christian Coptic churches and killed some 44 people.
“These continuous and escalating killings carried out by criminal gangs in the name of religion is one of the greatest catastrophes our Ummah (nation) has been witnessing,” the statement read.
The Shiite resistance group accused major powers and countries in the region for aiding terrorist groups in their attacks on the religious diversity in the Middle East. The statement stressed that targeting Christians, especially in their places of worship, is against the teachings of Islam.
“This crime is part of a large scheme to displace Christians from the Sinai Peninsula and other areas across Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, paving the way for sectarian and ethnic federalization in favor of the Zionist entity,” Hezbollah warned.
The people were killed in bomb attacks on the symbolic cathedral seat of the Coptic Pope and another church on Palm Sunday, prompting troop deployments as well as anger and fear among Christians across Egypt.
The first bombing, in Tanta, a Nile Delta city about 60 miles north of Cairo, tore through the inside of St. George Church during its Palm Sunday service, killing at least 27 people and injuring at least 78, the Ministry of Health said.
The second carried out a few hours later by a suicide bomber in Alexandria, hit Saint Mark's Cathedral, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing 17 people, including three police officers, and injuring 48, the ministry added.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Hezbollah concluded its statement by reaffirming its support for the country’s Christians and peace inside the country.
In 2014, a poll by the Beirut Center for Research and Information found that two-thirds, or 62.6 percent, of Lebanese Christians felt that, despite vilification of the group from the NATO alliance, Hezbollah has best protected the country from its most determined enemies, including Israel, the Islamic State group and Wahhabi-style terrorist groups linked to Syria and Iraq.
In addition, in 2012, the CS Monitor reported that in historically Christian neighborhoods that have become Hezbollah strongholds, Christians find respect and openly support the resistance group.
Hezbollah was formed in 1985 as a Shiite resistance group born out of repression against the Islamic sect and defines itself through its fight and struggle against the 1982 Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon which ended in 2000.
The group maintains close ties with the Iranian government and has remained a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. A few years ago the group joined Syrian Army forces in their fight against extremist rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.