IS claims deadly bus attack on Egypt Christians

Cheryl Sanders
June 8, 2017

Egypt's foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Saturday that the militants who attacked a bus convoy of Coptic Christians a day earlier were trained at a camps inside Libya.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi promised that the attack "will not go unanswered".

East Libyan forces said they participated in the air strikes, which had targeted forces linked to al-Qaeda at a number of sites, and would be followed by a ground operation.

"The Minya incident is unacceptable to Muslims and Christians and it targets Egypt's stability", Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb said in a statement.

A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the Israeli premier "sends the condolences of the Israeli people to President al-Sisi and the Egyptian people".

"They asked them one by one to deny their Christian faith, but they all refused", said Hedra, who spoke to survivors. "That would give people some relief", another resident remarked.

Photo taken by mobile phone shows one of the buses attacked by gunmen in the Minya governorate, about 220 kilometers south of Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2017.

Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with Egypt's Coptic Christians, calling those massacred in an attack on a bus carrying pilgrims "martyrs". And in December, a suicide bomber killed 29 people at a church in Cairo.

Daesh had also claimed responsibility for two deadly bombings of churches in Tanta and Alexandria in April, which left dozens dead and injured.

A young woman speaking from her hospital bed said the assailants ordered the women to surrender their jewellery and money before they opened fire, killing the men first and then some of the women. "Wherever innocent blood is spilled, a wound is inflicted upon humanity", said President Donald Trump in a statement released after Friday's attack.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, said the death toll stood at 28 and could rise.

The attack was reportedly carried out by eight to ten gunmen, media reports said.

Sinai Province, the name of the local affiliate of IS in Egypt, is seeking to impose a hardline interpretation of Islam in the country.

The ambassador said that combating intolerance and providing protection to Egyptians of different faiths should be a top priority, adding that extremists should not be allowed to divide the Egyptian society.

Already, el-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency in April following a pair of attacks targeting Christians north of Cairo.

Coptic Christians, which make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million, have been under increasing attack from radical Muslims over the past several months.

Other reports by iNewsToday