Rel­a­tives bury Chris­tians killed in Is­lamic State mil­i­tants’ at­tacks

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Samy Magdy and Hamza Hen­dawi Samy Magdy and Hamza Hen­dawi are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

MINYA, Egypt — Hun­dreds of Egyp­tian Chris­tians at­tended a fu­neral ser­vice Satur­day af­ter seven peo­ple were killed in an am­bush by Is­lamic State mil­i­tants of buses car­ry­ing pil­grims to a re­mote desert monastery.

The ser­vice at Prince Tadros church in the cen­tral city of Minya was held amid tight se­cu­rity. Minya’s top cleric, Anba Makar­ios, led prayers over a row of six white coffins, all vic­tims from the same fam­ily. A sep­a­rate fu­neral was held for the sev­enth vic­tim, a bus driver.

Rel­a­tives of the vic­tims cried and held each other for sup­port. A list of the vic­tims’ names re­leased by the church said a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were among the dead. Nine­teen were wounded in the at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the church.

Aida She­hata, who was shot in her legs, said masked men opened fire on three buses from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. Two of the buses were able to speed away and reach the monastery, but the mil­i­tants stopped the third one and killed the driver and six of the pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing her hus­band and his brother.

“The driver tried to go to the monastery but they (the mil­i­tants) were faster,” She­hata told a Cop­tic TV net­work.

An Is­lamic State af­fil­i­ate based in the restive north­ern Si­nai Penin­sula claimed the at­tack, call­ing it re­venge for the im­pris­on­ment of “our chaste sis­ters,” with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Is­lamic State has re­peat­edly at­tacked Egypt’s Chris­tians as pun­ish­ment for their sup­port of Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fat­tah elSissi, who led the mil­i­tary’s 2013 ouster of an elected but di­vi­sive Is­lamist pres­i­dent. The group has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for a string of deadly at­tacks on Chris­tians dat­ing back to De­cem­ber 2016.

Mo­hamed el-Sha­hed / AFP / Getty Images

Cop­tic Chris­tians in Minya, Egypt, carry the cof­fin of a vic­tim killed in an at­tack by mil­i­tants on buses of pil­grims.

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