A similar ambush in 2017 on same road killed 28
Gunmen opened fire on two buses, killing seven people in one and wounding nine in the other, according to the New York Times.
Father Boles Halim, a spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church, said he expected the toll to rose, the Times said. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but militants linked to Islamic State group have regularly targeted Christians. The Times pointed out that the shooting was almost identical to several others against Christians by the Islamic State, including one on the same stretch of road in May 2017, when 28 pilgrims were killed.
The attackers struck close to Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, 160 miles up the River Nile from Cairo, the Archbishop of Minya, Anba Makarious, told Reuters.
In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned the attack as an act of “black terrorism” carried out by forces that were “seeking to undermine the cohesive fabric of the homeland.” He vowed to find and prosecute the perpetrators.
Coptic Archbishop Angaelos of Great Britain today posted on Twitter: “Reported deadly attack on #Coptic #Orthodox pilgrims in busses enroute to ancient monastery in Upper Egypt with multiple fatalities and injuries. Praying for casualties, survivors mourners and all those affected, as well as safety on all our faithful brethren in #Egypt.”
And Bishop Suriel, who overeats the Coptic flock in Melbourne, Australia, tweeted, “Heartbreaking once again!”
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