At least 7 Coptic Christians killed in bus attack in Egypt

At least 7 Coptic Christians killed in bus attack in Egypt

At least 7 Coptic Christians killed in bus attack in Egypt

Christians in Egypt gathered on Saturday to bury seven members, six of whom are from the same family who were killed on Friday while returning from a baptism at a Coptic monastery in Egypt's Minya province.

Just last month, an Egyptian military court handed down death sentences to 17 people convicted in a series of fatal attacks on Christians throughout the country since December 2016.

Unknown gunmen on Friday attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians to a desert monastery in southern Egypt, killing seven people, police said.

Another 18 people, including children, were wounded in the most serious attack on the minority in more than a year.

President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi issued official statements in which he mourned the victims and re-affirmed his effors to combat terrorism on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

In Minya, the scene of Friday's attack, Christians constitute the highest percentage of the population - about 35 percent - of any Egyptian province.

Egypt's Interior Ministry has claimed that, due to security and safety instructions, the main road leading to the monastery had been closed which prompted the bus use a back road.

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The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) are still conducting their investigation into what caused Saturday's tragedy. The EFL Cup tie between Claude Puel's side and Southampton , scheduled for Tuesday, was consequently postponed.

The bus was reportedly on its way to Minya's Saint Samuel Monastery when the deadly attack occurred.

The attack is likely to cast a dark shadow on one of el-Sissi's showpieces - the World Youth Forum - which opens Saturday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and hopes to draw thousands of local and foreign youth to discuss upcoming projects, with Egypt's 63-year-old leader taking center stage.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Coptic Christians in Egypt have been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group [IS] in recent years.

A young boy grieves next to the coffins of his parents who were killed during a bus attack, during their funeral service at Ava Samuel desert monastery in Minya, Egypt, May 26, 2017. "Do they want us to hate Muslims?" said Michel, 23, who lost a neighbour in the attack. It's also in Minya where most acts of violence, like attacks on churches and Christian homes and businesses take place.

The Copts, an Orthodox denomination who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's more than 90 million inhabitants, are the Middle East's largest Christian community.

Copts have long complained of discrimination in Egypt and IS is not the only group to have launched sectarian attacks against the community.

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