Gunmen attack Christians in Egypt, unknown number of fatalities

At least 28 people were killed in Egypt after unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in what officials are calling a terror attack.

A Coptic activist said the bus and an accompanying auto were attacked as they drove along an unpaved road towards the St Samuel monastery, around 140 miles south of Cairo.

The three attacks, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, left at least 75 people dead.

It was the latest attack on Copts after Islamic State (IS) group militants bombed three churches in December and April, killing dozens of Christians.

Squeezed by a USA -backed military effort in Syria and Iraq, ISIS is attempting to establish a foothold in Egypt by destabilizing the country's fragile demographic patchwork.

In retaliation, NPR's Jane Arraf reports, "President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi says he ordered strikes near Derna in eastern Libya after determining that militant forces there were involved in Friday's attack".

The death toll was announced by a spokesman for Egypt's health ministry.

The attack, which Egypt's Muslim leaders condemned, happened 15 km (10 miles) from the monastery, a security official on the scene told Reuters.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for a meeting with top aides to discuss the attack. Children could be heard screaming hysterically in the background.

Coffins are seen inside the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday, in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017. In December, 25 were killed in a bombing at the country's main Coptic cathedral in Cairo. Egypt's Coptic Christians have emerged as a top target of IS. The Copts account for about 10 percent of Egypt's 93 million people. Attacks on Christian homes, businesses, and churches subsequently surged, especially in the country's south. More recently, some Christians have complained that the government was not doing enough to protect them.

  • Zachary Reyes