Egypt says air strikes destroy militant camps after attack on Christians

The Egyptian Cabinet said in a news release on Saturday that 13 victims of Friday's attack remained hospitalized in Cairo and the southern province of Minya where the attack took place.

Many victims were children, only three kids survived the attack. In December, a suicide bomber struck a church in Cairo, killing 29 Copts.

FILE - In this Friday, May 26, 2017 file photo, relatives of Coptic Christians who were killed during a bus attack, surround their coffins, during their funeral service, at Abu Garnous Cathedral in Minya, Egypt. It was the fourth attack against Christians in Egypt since December to be claimed by the IS.

The statement from the military spokesman did not specify precisely where the strikes were conducted but state television said on Friday that operations were focused on the eastern Libyan city of Derna. Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, claimed responsibility for those attacks.

He said the attacks on Christians were aimed at driving a wedge between them and the country's Muslim majority. "The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished". Similarly the UK's Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who earlier this month had hosted Egypt's Coptic Orthodox leader Pope Tawadros, said he was "heartbroken by the news of another terrible attack on men, women, and children, murdered due to their faith in Jesus Christ". Masked gunmen stopped the vehicles on a road leading to the monastery and opened fire.

El-Sissi, in his televised address, said of the USA president: "I direct my appeal to President Trump: I trust you, your word and your ability to make fighting global terror your primary task".

Friday's attack is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt's Christians by Islamist militants, including twin suicide bombings in churches in Tanta and Alexandria last month, which killed dozens.

Al-Azhar, Egypt's top religious authority, condemned the shooting on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

However, the jihadist group was later chased from the city by local fighters and rival Islamists.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ordered the retaliatory attack on ISIS strongholds in Libya shortly after learning of the attack.

Egypt's Copts form the largest Christian community in the region and 10 percent of Egypt's population of 93 million people, according to the Associated Press.

  • Leroy Wright