UN Security Council condemns Egypt bus attack

Elias Hubbard
May 27, 2017

Gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians travelling to a monastery in southern Egypt on Friday, killing 28 people and wounding 24, with many children among the victims, Health Ministry officials said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also issued a statement condemning the attack, as did the Islamist terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Islamic militants have for years been waging an insurgency mostly centered in the restive northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, although a growing number of attacks have recently also taken place on the mainland.

The assault happens while the bus is traveling on a side road in the desert leading to the remote monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya governorate.

The Health Ministry cited witnesses as saying there were between eight and 10 attackers, and that they were wearing military uniforms. The victims were en route from the nearby province of Beni Suef to visit the monastery. According to Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack.

Though no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, it had all the hallmarks of Egypt's Islamic State affiliate.

UN Security Council condemns Egypt bus attack
UN Security Council condemns Egypt bus attack

Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed the vehicle riddled with machinegun fire and its windows shot out. Egypt's Coptic Christians have emerged as a top target of IS. At least twenty-six people were killed and many others wounded in the terror attack.

The Coptic Christian community in Egypt is the largest Christian group in the Middle East - and has recently become a favorite target of the so-called Islamic State. At least 43 people are killed and scores of worshippers injured in the Palm Sunday attack, which narrowly missed a ceremony presided over by Pope Tawadros II in Alexandria's St. Mark's cathedral.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the Egyptian population.

The bombings prompted President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.

A suicide bomber attacked a church in 2011, and there have been deadly clashes with Muslims, especially in the rural south, following disputes over church construction.

The Copts have always been a prime target of extremists: They were hit in a massive church bombing just weeks before the country's 2011 Arab Spring uprising, and Islamic militants gave them a particular focus during a crackdown in the 1990s.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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