IN EGYP­TIAN CHURCH

New Straits Times - - World -

“There is no god but God and the Mes­siah is God!”

Gun­men at­tacked a group of Cop­tic Chris­tians trav­el­ling to a monastery, killing at least 29 peo­ple and wound­ing 24, with many chil­dren among the vic­tims.

The Is­lamic State said yes­ter­day that its fight­ers had car­ried out the shoot­ing on the eve of Ra­madan.

“A se­cu­rity unit from the sol­diers of the caliphate set up a check­point to am­bush tens of Chris­tians headed for the Saint Sa­muel monastery west of the city of Minya,” it said.

Wit­nesses said three ve­hi­cles were at­tacked. A bus and a car trans­port­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies were the ini­tial tar­gets.

The gun­men fired at the win­dows, then boarded the ve­hi­cles, shoot­ing dead all the men and fir­ing at the feet of the women and chil­dren. They also took all the gold the women were car­ry­ing. Some chil­dren were killed.

When one of the gun­men’s ve­hi­cles had a flat tyre, they stopped a truck car­ry­ing Chris­tian work­ers, shot them and took their truck.

One of the gun­men had a cam­era, in­di­cat­ing that the killers might release footage of the at­tack in the fu­ture.

Safwat Bushra, a wit­ness from Edwa — a small town which, like Dayr Jarnous, is home to a siz­able Chris­tian mi­nor­ity — said he saw the shoot­ing from the road where he was driv­ing that morn­ing.

He said po­lice at a check­point near the in­ci­dent did not rush in to fight the gun­men, and also did not al­low an am­bu­lance to pass the check­point.

“The of­fi­cers and po­lice­men at the check­points are known to have Is­lamist sym­pa­thies. Or at least, they hate Copts,” he said in­side the church.

Bushra was so en­raged he had to be told by priests to calm down or leave. A 3-year-old and a 4year-old were killed, he said.

Seven of the 29 Chris­tians killed came from here.

Bishop Agathon, bishop of the Maghagha and Edwa dio­cese, led the fu­neral prayers, which were spo­ken in Cop­tic, the last liv­ing de­scen­dant of the an­cient Egyp­tian lan­guage.

Women dressed in black wept and wailed, some even slapped them­selves on the face. One woman, whose fa­ther was killed, had a ner­vous break­down and had to be car­ried away.

Even the boy and girl scouts charged with or­gan­is­ing the prayers and re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity in the church were cry­ing.

“Did they de­serve this? They were just go­ing to work and then were killed,” said one woman, re­fer­ring to the Chris­tian work­ers.

“God will avenge us. We will not do any­thing vi­o­lent be­cause we are Chris­tians and love is in our hearts. It is enough that they will go to hell,” she said. Reuters

AGENCY PIX

Rel­a­tives mourn­ing over coffins of vic­tims dur­ing the fu­neral of peo­ple killed in an at­tack on the monastery of Saint Sa­muel the Con­fes­sor in Minya Prov­ince, cen­tral Egypt, on Fri­day. (In­set) Rel­a­tives of vic­tims over­come with emo­tion at the fu­neral.

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