Pope: More Christian martyrs today than in ancient times

Nick Mcbride
June 6, 2017

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the remarks on Saturday during a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Islamic State group militants carried out Friday's killing of 29 Christians on a bus in central Egypt, its Amaq news agency claimed on Saturday.

"There was enough information and evidence of the terrorist elements involved in the [attack] having trained in these camps", he said.

The attacks were claimed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

After the terror act, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi said that Egypt was determined to eliminate terrorists both on its territory and beyond and stressed that the states supporting terrorism should be punished.

The minister's decision comes one day after 29 Coptic Christians were killed in an attack by armed men on buses carrying worshippers to a monastery in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate.

In December 2016, 25 were killed and 49 injured in an attack on a cathedral in Cairo.

Egypt's Copts form the largest Christian community in the region and 10 percent of Egypt's population of 93 million people, according to the Associated Press.

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The 21 hostages were identified as fishermen from an impoverished village in northern Egypt.

The ambush was the fourth deadly attack against the country's Christians since December.

The attack is the second time Isis has targeted the beleaguered Christian minority in Egypt in recent months following twin bombings that killed at least 44 people in churches in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday last month.

In February ISIS released a video in which it called Egyptian Christians its "favorite prey" and told its followers that under Allah's orders they were obligated to "kill every infidel".

The Palestinian militant group is seeking to improve relations with neighboring Egypt.

"Terrorists are engaged in a war against civilisation, and it is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil", US President Donald Trump said.

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

At home, the officials said a host of measures were under consideration to better protect Christians - whose religious calendar is packed full of vulnerable pilgrimages to monasteries and ancient churches to celebrate saints or venerate sites where the Holy Family sojourned during their biblical stay in Egypt.

Other reports by VgToday

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