'Sadmess and pain' as Egypt's Copts bury bus attack victims

Officials say gunmen opened fire on the Christians who were returning from baptizing a child at a Coptic monastery.

Some Christians in Egypt weep uncontrollably as 7 dead members killed in militant attack are buried.

The Islamic State (IS) group earlier said it was behind the attack, the latest in a series by extremists on Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to forge ahead with a campaign against jihadists.

Coptic Christians have been repeatedly targeted by terrorists. As defense minister, el-Sissi led the military's 2013 ouster of an Islamist president, whose one-year rule proved divisive.

Egypt's Interior Ministry has claimed that, due to security and safety instructions, the main road leading to the monastery had been closed which prompted the bus use a back road.

In May 2017, 29 people were killed in a similar attack in Minya.

Copts, a Christian minority, make up 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people.

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The spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church Boulis Halim had confirmed to Ahram Online that there had been seven fatalities and a number of injuries.

Armed security has been deployed outside a church South of Cairo on Saturday where funerals for victims of a militant attack are expected to be held.

According to the Archbishop in Minya, the attack took place in nearly the same place as one by Islamist militants which killed 28 Christians in May 2017.

The group was heading to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, south of Cairo in Egypt's western desert, when Friday's attack occurred.

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. It's also in Minya where most acts of violence, like attacks on churches and Christian homes and businesses take place.

The security forces moved to the scene to disclose the attack's circumstances, and ambulance vehicles arrived near the monastery to transfer the injured to hospitals, the source added, affirming that the perpetrators are being pursued.

Copts have long complained of discrimination in Egypt and IS is not the only group to have launched sectarian attacks against the community.

In Minya, the scene of Friday's attack, Christians constitute the highest percentage of the population - about 35 percent - of any Egyptian province.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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