Gunmen open fire on bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt

04 November, 2018, 01:20 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • The Egyptian city of Minya is located about 270km south of the capital Cairo

Egyptian Christians buried six members of the same family on Saturday who were shot dead while returning from a baptism at a Coptic monastery in Egypt's Minya province.

Another 18 people, including children, were wounded in the most serious attack on the minority in more than a year.

The local Islamic State affiliate which spearheads militants fighting security forces in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, according to SITE, a USA -based group that monitors and translates militants' statements.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign.

The remains of a vehicle reportedly used by gunmen in the November 2 attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians. "Because I could die if I go to church", said Michel, a 23-year-old Copt whose neighbour was killed in the attack.

Egypt's Interior Ministry has claimed that, due to security and safety instructions, the main road leading to the monastery had been closed which prompted the bus use a back road.

Those attacks left at least 100 people dead and led to tighter security around Christian places of worship and Church-linked facilities.

On Saturday, el-Sissi is to open the World Youth Forum in the Sharm El Sheikh resort in Sinai, which has also seen deadly militant attacks.


Embarrassingly, Friday's attack is the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in as many years, indicating that security measures put in place since then are either inadequate or have become lax.

The spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church Boulis Halim had confirmed to Ahram Online that there had been seven fatalities and a number of injuries.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of Islamic State militants who have for years been fighting security forces in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt's porous desert border with Libya.

Coptic Christians are a religious minority in Egypt, making up about 10 percent of the country's population.

The public prosecutor said a team of investigators has been dispatched to the scene of the attack to investigate.

Egypt's highest Muslim institution, Al Azhar, condemned the "cowardly terrorist attack" on Friday evening in an official statement in which is lambasted the perpetrators for a lack of "basic human values" and the "killing of of the innocent".

In December 2017 an IS militant killed nine people in an attack on a church in a south Cairo suburb.

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