Egypt blames Libya for training militants

Elias Hubbard
June 4, 2017

Egyptian air raids over Libya have destroyed several camps that trained the militants who killed dozens of Christians in southern Egypt on Friday, the Egyptian military said on Saturday.

The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims south of Cairo that left 29 dead.

Relatives of victims of an attack that killed at least 28 Coptic Christians on Friday react at the funeral in Minya, Egypt May 26, 2017.

Trump, attending the G-7 meeting in Sicily, said the US would stand with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who vowed to strike back at the training bases of Islamic State militants suspected of waging the attacks.

In a TV speech late on Friday, Egypt's president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi promised to "protect our people from evil", and announced that warplanes were attacking the town of Derna in eastern Libya, near the border with Egypt. The attack prompted the government to declare a state-of-emergency. Daesh reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the remarks on Saturday during a meeting with his USA counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, account for about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people. In the statement Trump condemned all terrorists who "engaged in a war against civilization" and expressed his anger over the "merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt".

Condemning the attack, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said: "I condemn in the name of France with the utmost firmness the cowardly and barbarous act that plagues Egypt".

On the other hand, the King congratulated Sisi on the beginning of Ramadan, a holy month in Islam's lunar calendar.

"Pray for the families of the more than 26 Coptic Chrisians killed by gunmen in Egypt today".

Derna has a history of Islamist militancy and is where Islamic State set up its first presence in Libya in 2014.

Israel "strongly condemns the painful terror attack in Egypt and sends the condolences of the Israeli people to [Egyptian] President [Abdel-Fattah] Sissi and to the Egyptian people", a Friday statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

During the pope's visit to Egypt in late April, Francis paid tribute to the victims of the December bombing at Cairo's St. Peter's church, which is located in close proximity to the St. Mark's cathedral, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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