Death toll in Egypt attack on Coptic Christians rises to 29

Candice Alexander
May 27, 2017

Coptic Christians protest Friday in Minya, Egypt, after a funeral for some of the victims of an attack by masked gunmen on a bus that left at least 28.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq media wing, according to the Site Intelligence Group, a terror monitoring group.

Egypt responded to the attack, the fourth by IS targeting the country's Christian minority since December with air strikes against what the military says are bases in eastern Libya where the militants have been trained.

Following the attack, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi had said that "Egypt will not hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere whether they are, inside or outside the country".

A spokesman for the pro-Al-Qaeda Majlis Mujahedeen Derna, which controls the city, said the Egyptian air force carried out eight raids on the city without causing casualties.

In a statement released in Washington, Trump said: "The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished".

A suicide bombing at a chapel next to St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo on 11th December 2016 killed 29 people.

They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured. IS also signaled while claiming responsibility that more attacks were coming: "The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing".

Minya governor Essam al-Bedawi said security forces had arrived at the scene and were fanning out along the road to the monastery and setting up checkpoints.

The Egyptian president also directly addressed Donald Trump to take the lead in fighting terrorism.

Coptic Christians, whose church dates back almost 2000 years, make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's population of 92 million.

The army operation is still going on, he said in a statement.

Pope Francis, who had visited Egypt in April, sent a message to Sisi saying he was "deeply saddened to learn of the barbaric attack".

An Islamic State campaign of murders in North Sinai prompted hundreds of Christians to flee in February and March.

Copts fear they will face the same fate as brethren in Iraq and Syria, where Christian communities have been decimated by wars and Islamic State persecution.

Two suicide bombings killed 44 people in Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.

Other reports by VgToday

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