ISIS claims responsibility for massacre of 29 Coptic Christians killed in Egypt

The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack on a bus carrying Christians on their way to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which killed 29.

The assault happened while the bus was travelling to Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, in the Minya governorate, about 220 km south of Cairo, security officials said.

A spokesman for the Al Qaeda-supporting Majlis Mujahedeen Derna, which controls the city in eastern Libya, said the Egyptian air force carried out eight raids on the city without causing casualties.

The air force loyal to Egypt-backed Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said it had joined the Egyptian air strikes on Friday following the attack on Copts that killed 29 people.

The last time the monument's lights were turned off was on May 23, in tribute to the 22 persons killed and dozens wounded in the terror attack in Manchester, United Kingdom.

"The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed", Sisi said. Authorities had previously said 28 were killed. One report said that as many as 10 attackers dressed in military uniforms drove up in three trucks, stormed the bus, demanded that the passengers recite the Muslim profession of faith, and then opened fire.

Egypt's military said in a statement it had "conducted several intensive day and night-time strikes" that successfully destroyed many targets, including training camps responsible for the Minya attack. The claim put the death toll at 32, but there was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday.

Isis has targeted numerous religious minorities including Coptic Christians - who have been beheaded in Libya - and Sufi and Shia Muslims, who have been massacred across the Middle East.

"This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls".

"Sources on the ground say the six locations targeted by Egyptian warplanes are civilian areas and populated districts inside the city", he 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.

Sisi told Pope Towadros II, the pope of the Coptic church in Egypt, in a phone call on Friday that the state would not rest easy until the perpetrators of the attack were punished.

Sisi said that recent attacks were aimed at making people believe that Christians are not secure in Egypt, and that the government is not protecting them.

  • Leroy Wright