Churchgoers massacred as attacks rage across borders

The Times

Nearly 150 people were killed in a bloody weekend of terror attacks across five countries, with churchgoers, children, market shoppers and football fans among those slaughtered.

The perpetrators ranged from Kurdish separatists in Turkey to two child suicide bombers, thought to be aged seven and eight, in Nigeria. The countries hit have all been plagued by recent sectarian and separatist wars.

At least 25 Christians from Egypt’s Coptic minority were killed by a bomb in a church in Cairo yesterday morning. The explosion ripped through the building within the compound of the city’s main cathedral as worshippers attended Mass. Isis supporters celebrated on social media as news of the attack broke, but no group has claimed responsibility.

A suicide bomber in Yemen killed 48 government troops at a base in the southern port city of Aden. Yemeni forces, backed by Saudi Arabia, are fighting an insurgency waged by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The attack was claimed by Isis.

In Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, Kurdish separatist militants killed 38 people, most of them police officers, in a double bombing close to the Besiktas football stadium on Saturday night. The attack is the bloodiest since the Kurdish PKK militia ended a two-year ceasefire 17 months ago.

A lorry bomb planted by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group killed at least 29 people yesterday at a port in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu. Two girl suicide bombers attacked a market in the town of Maiduguri in Nigeria.

The weekend of mayhem comes at the close of a bloody year in which more than 15,000 people have been killed in 1,683 separate terrorist attacks worldwide, according to data from the US-based monitoring group PeaceTech Lab. Civilians are increasingly the victims in wars that are playing out in streets and places of worship as much as on traditional battlefields.

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