Egypt: Deadly attack on bus headed to Coptic Christian monastery


Gunmen killed at least seven people and wounded 14 others in an attack on a bus driving toward a Coptic Christian monastery in Egypt on Friday, the Archbishop in Minya said.

In May 2017, a similar terrorist attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims heading to the same monastery left 30 killed and two dozen injured.

Bishop Makarios of Minya said the wounded were taken to a hospital in Beni Mazar, around 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of Cairo. It's also in Minya where most acts of violence, like attacks on churches and Christian homes and businesses take place.

Heavy deployments of security forces blocked roads leading towards the scene of the shooting, an AFP reporter said.

Egypt's government news service released a statement from an unnamed security official saying at least 12 people were injured.

Friday's assault comes a day before President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi opens a major world youth forum in the Sinai resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, which authorities hope will showcase security in the area.

I am deeply saddened by the martyrs who fell today by treacherous hands seeking to undermine the fabric of a cohesive homeland.

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"I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators", he said on Twitter.

The health minister and minister of social solidarity were dispatched by Sisi to Minya.

Copts, a Christian minority that makes up 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people, have been repeatedly targeted by ISIS in recent years.

The attack took place very close to the spot where gunmen killed 28 Christians in a similar attack in May a year ago.

In April 2017, twin suicide bombings, claimed by Islamic State, targeted two Coptic churches, killing 48 people.

A year earlier, a suicide bomber killed nearly 30 worshipers at a church in Cairo located in the Saint Mark's Cathedral complex, the seat of the Coptic papacy.