Gunmen Killed 28 Egyptian Christians

(Middle East Eye) Gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians as they were driving to a monastery south of Cairo on Friday, killing 28 and wounding a further 26, medical sources and witnesses said.

Coptic Cross photo

Photo by Bakar_88 (CC)

The group was travelling in two buses and a truck through the province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority, he said.

An interior ministry spokesman said the attack was carried out by unidentified gunmen in three four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, called a meeting of security officials following the attack, the state news agency said.

The attack in Minya province came after church bombings in December and April claimed by the Islamic State group that killed dozens of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack, but IS had threatened more attacks against the Coptic population, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million.

About 70 have been killed in bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta since December.

The attacks prompted Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.

Muslim leaders condemned the killings. The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old centre of Islamic learning, said the attack, which came on the eve of Ramadan, was intended to destabilise 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.

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