Coptic Christians Slaughtered in Egypt As Ramadan Begins
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 07, 2017,
Jun 07, 2017, 8:40
The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for shooting dead 29 Christians on a bus in central Egypt, an attack that prompted retaliatory air strikes on militants in neighbouring Libya.
The group was travelling from Beni Suef province to the remote monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha when gunman opened fire on their vehicle approximately 140 miles south of Cairo.
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.
The attacks were claimed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.
At that time, al-Sisi declared seven days of national mourning, and announced that warplanes has conducted air strikes against militant targets in Libya, including training camps in arms depots.
"By the time they killed half of the people, the terrorists saw cars coming in the distance and we think that that is what saved the rest", Egyptian lawmaker Magdy Malek said after visiting victims of the attack Friday.
Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, account for about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people. This gave the government near dictatorial powers that could easily be abused, but they didn't prevent Friday's terror attack on Coptic Christians.
ISIL extremists have claimed responsibility for the shootings.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there were no reports of Singaporeans directly affected or injured in the Egypt incident.
"What you've seen today will not go unpunished", President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in a televised address late on Friday.
"Terrorists are engaged in a war against civilisation, and it is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil", US President Donald Trump said.
The Egyptian armed forces also released a short video that said the strikes hit terrorist gatherings in Libya "after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday", according to Ahram Online.
Egypt's government has been struggling contain an insurgency by Islamic militants led by an IS affiliate that is centered in the northern region of the Sinai peninsula, though attacks on the mainland have recently increased.
The authorities of Egypt stated on Saturday that the attackers who were involved in the massacre of Christians near a monastery were trained in Libya.