Gunmen kill Coptic Christians on pilgrimage to Egypt's St Samuel monastery

At least 7 killed as bus carrying Christians attacked in Egypt

At least seven Coptic Christians were killed Friday when gunmen opened fire on their bus in central Egypt, said the province's bishop told AFP.

Later on Friday, an IS-linked website reported that militants in Egypt with links to the group had claimed responsibility for the attack. Local church officials in Minya province where the attack took place, put the death toll at 10, but the higher figure could not be confirmed.

Egypt has been waging a military and security campaign to crush militants behind a wave of attacks on security forces and civilians, including Christians.

It said the attack left 13 Christians killed and another 18 wounded, but it was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim or reconcile the discrepancy in the number of dead and wounded given by the group and the church.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said, "I wish the wounded a quick recovery and confirm our determination to continue our efforts to fight the darkness of terrorism and pursue the criminals".

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The vehicles - two buses and a microbus - were traveling near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya, about 130 miles south-southwest of the capital of Cairo at the time of the attack.

Seventy-four people were killed in the attacks in 2016 and 2017 targeting Coptic Christians in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta. The previous attack in May 2017 left almost 30 people dead.

At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in shooting on two buses heading towards a Coptic Christian monastery in upper Egypt.

Security forces are now searching for the unknown gunmen who carried out the terror attack on the bus, the sources said. "The terrorists attacked them and fled", he said.

Copts, a Christian minority that make up 10 per cent of Egypt's 96 million people, have in recent years been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group.

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