ISIS claims responsibility for a deadly attack on Christians. Reports emerged that gunmen killed at least seven Coptic Christians. The attack left no less than 16 injured. The attackers ambushed two buses carrying Christians in Egypt’s Western Desert.
The attack unfolded when two buses carrying pilgrims left the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor. “The driver tried to go to the monastery but they (the militants) were faster,” a victim who was shot in her legs revealed. She said that masked men started spraying bullets on three buses from different directions.
Two of these buses escaped and reached the monastery, but the militants were able to prevent the third bus from entering the monastery thus killed the driver and six passengers. Egypt’s Interior Ministry stated that the attackers apparently used a secondary road to intercept the bus near the monastery located 85 miles south of Cairo.
After the incident, ambulances carried three of the critically injured to Cairo’s Sheikh Zayed Specialized Hospital. The Interior Ministry also said that police were carrying out investigations and pursue the attackers, who fled immediately after carrying out the attack.
This attack was second time pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery were targeted by extremists. In May 2017, attackers killed nearly 30 pilgrims to the same monastery. Terror group ISIS has frequently targeted churches perpetrating suicide bombings since December 2016; killings scores of Christians.
In a statement, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi condemned the attack ad said it was an act of “black terrorism” carried out by forces that were “seeking to undermine the cohesive fabric of the homeland.” Egypt’s President vowed to hunt down the attackers and punish them. Coptic Christians have also been staunch supporters of President Sissi.
Following day funeral service of six of those killed was held at Prince Tadros church in the central city of Minya. Minya’s top priest, Anba Makarios, led the prayers for six Christians, all victims from the same family. Funeral prayer for the seventh victim the bus driver was held separately.