At least 7 killed as bus carrying Christians attacked in Egypt

Saul Bowman
November 4, 2018

It has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks on Christians dating back to December 2016.

At least seven people were announced killed and seven others wounded after a bus carrying a number of Copts was attacked near the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Upper Egypt's Minya on Friday, an anonymous security source said.

Angry Coptic Christians in mourning kept a vigil outside a hospital in central Egypt overnight to receive the bodies of relatives killed in a gun attack on a bus transporting pilgrims.

The Islamic State (IS) group earlier said it was behind the attack, the latest in a series by extremists on Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign.

The province of Minya has become known for anti-Christian violence and questions are being asked of Egyptian authorities as to why the route taken by the bus had not been secured. As defense minister, el-Sissi led the military's 2013 ouster of an Islamist president, whose one-year rule proved divisive. The attack killed 28 Christians, including children, on their way to a monastery.

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

Church spokesman Bouls Halim said the death toll is likely to rise.

Christians account for around 10 per cent of Egypt's predominantly Muslim population of about 100 million.

On Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Prince Tadros church in Minya, a city some 260km south of the capital, Cairo, to bury six members of the same family who were shot dead in the attack.

A young boy grieves next to the coffins of his parents who were killed during a bus attack, during their funeral service at Ava Samuel desert monastery in Minya, Egypt, May 26, 2017.

On Saturday, a burned-out four-wheel-drive truck, which witnesses said had been used by a group of militants in white galabiya gowns, stood near the site of the attack. They are the Middle East's largest Christian community and have long complained of persecution and insufficient protection.

We also highly value the high sense of consciousness of the Egyptian people in regards to the objectives of these terrorist groups against Egypt's security and stability.

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