At least seven killed in attack on Coptic Christian bus in Egypt


Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi mourned the victims of the attack on the Christian bus, vows to push ahead with campaign against militants, on Twitter.

Gunmen killed at least seven Coptic Christians in Egypt as they were traveling on a bus near a monastery - the most serious assault on the religious minority in over a year.

Friday's attack is the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in as many years, indicating that security measures in place since then are either inadequate or have become lax.

The attack previous year was the latest in a deadly series that targeted churches in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and Tanta in the Nile Delta north of the capital.

Security officials said the attackers opened fire on two buses carrying pilgrims from Bani Suef and Sohag provinces, also south of Cairo.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.

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"Those who carried out the ambush... in Minya are fighters of the Islamic State", Amaq said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

For its part, security forces quickly surrounded the area. He expressed his deepest sorrow and assured his "determination to continue our efforts to combat terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators".

When attacked, the bus was driving along a side road to the monastery because the main road was closed after earlier security orders due to its desert location and lack of phone communication, it added.

Egypt is a Muslim-majority country and its Christian minority - mostly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church - make up around 10% of the population.

The terror group killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April 2017 and a month later shot dead 28 Christians in Minya province as they headed to a monastery on a bus.

There were attacks on Coptic churches in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta, north of the capital, in 2016 and 2017 despite a state of emergency imposed 18 months ago.