Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Egypt’s Christians bury victims of latest militant attack

Egypt attack on bus bound for Coptic monastery kills seven At least 7 killed as bus carrying Christians attacked in Egypt
Andrew Cummings | 04 November, 2018, 01:21

The Islamic State (IS) killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April 2017 and a month later shot dead nearly 30 Christians in Minya province as they headed to a monastery on a bus. The group has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks on Christians dating back to December 2016.

Friday's attack on two buses near the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Minya also left at least seven others wounded - including children, according to reports.

Angry Coptic Christians in mourning kept a vigil outside a hospital in central Egypt overnight to receive the bodies of relatives killed in a gun attack on a bus transporting pilgrims.

Daesh has repeatedly stated its intention to target Egypt's Christians as a punishment for their support of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, who, as defence minister, led the military's 2013 ouster of a president, whose one-year rule proved divisive.

Assailants reportedly used side roads to reach the main highway and shoot at the buses, which were nearing the monastery. About 30 people are killed.

Attacks against Coptic Christians, who account for 10% of the nation's population, have been on the rise since 2017.

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The Interior Ministry maintained that only one bus was attacked, but the latest statement by the church said three buses were targeted and put the death toll at 7 and the wounded at 19, including two in critical condition.

No group immediately claimed the attack south of the capital Cairo, which bore the hallmarks of Islamic State militants who have for years been fighting security forces in the Sinai peninsula and along Egypt's porous desert border with Libya.

A number of people were also injured in the attack in the Minya region, south of the capital Cairo.

Egypt's highest Muslim institution, Al Azhar, condemned the "cowardly terrorist attack" on Friday evening in an official statement in which is lambasted the perpetrators for a lack of "basic human values" and the "killing of of the innocent".

The attack took place close to where gunmen killed 28 Christians in a similar assault in May 2017.

"This latest attack shows that the anti-ISIS (IS) campaign has not yet succeeded in Egypt, despite obvious efforts by the authorities to tackle it in different parts of the country", said H. A. Hellyer, senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Royal United Services Institute in London.

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