Gunmen kill 26 in attack on Egypt Christians
CAIRO: Masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of the Egyptian capital yesterday, killing at least 26 people, officials said.
The gunmen, in three pick-up trucks, attacked the bus as it carried visitors to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya, more than 200km from here, before fleeing, the Interior Ministry said.
It was the latest attack on Copts after Islamic State group jihadists bombed three churches in December and April, killing dozens of Christians.
Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed its windows shot out.
“They used automatic weapons,” Minya governor Essam el-Bedawi said.
He said police were fanning out along the road where the attack took place and had set up checkpoints.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said 26 people were killed and 25 were wounded.
IS has threatened more attacks against the Copts, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s 90million population.
Suicide bombers with the jihadist group struck a church here on Dec 11, next to the seat of the Coptic pope, killing 29 people.
On April 11, bombers attacked two churches north of here on Palm Sunday, killing 45 people, in the deadliest strike in living memory against the Copts.
The Copts’ Pope Tawadros II had been leading a service in one of the two churches that was attacked that day.
The bombings prompted President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.
The Egyptian affiliate of IS also killed several Copts in North Sinai, forcing dozens of families to flee the province in January.
Friday’s shooting came after a historic visit to Egypt by Roman Catholic Pope Francis to show solidarity with the country’s Christians. AFP