Relatives bury Christians killed in Islamic State militants’ attacks
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.
Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt, carry the coffin of a victim killed in an attack by militants on buses of pilgrims.