26 people have been killed and 25 wounded after masked gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt. The terrorist attack happened in Minya province, about 220km (140 miles) south of the capital city of Cairo. The bus was headed to the Monastery of St Samuel.
The bus was ambushed by masked men in three 4 wheel drive vehicles. An immediate response by Egyptian military and security forces is underway, while units of the police special forces closed all exits to Minya.
According to Egyptian media – the terrorists had driven from the Western Desert to a nearby location of the attacked bus then walked to ambush the bus, where they sprayed the bus with gunfire indiscriminately. During the terrorists exit, they found another group in another bus, which they stopped, killed everyone aboard and fled.
(Via Reuters) There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan. It followed a series of church bombings claimed by Islamic State.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called a meeting of security officials, the state news agency said, and the cabinet said the attackers would not succeed in dividing the nation.
Muslim leaders condemned the killings. The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilize the country.
“I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,” Ahmed al-Tayeb said from Germany, where he was on a visit. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, condemned the perpetrators as traitors.
The Coptic church said it had received news of the killing of its “martyrs” with pain and sorrow.
The attack took place on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority. (more)
There have been a number of attacks on Coptic Christians in recent months claimed by Islamic State (IS) militants. Two suicide bombings targeting churches on 9 April left 46 people dead. The attacks prompted President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to declare a nationwide state of emergency and promise to do whatever was necessary to confront jihadists.
The goal of the terrorists is to kill Christians and disrupt the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a key ally with President Donald Trump in the fight against ISIS. The terrorists will not win.