Gun­men kill 26 in at­tack on Egypt Chris­tians

New Straits Times - - News / Story of the day -

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

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