by Tiffiny Ruegner | May 26, 2017 12:02 pm
A horrifying group of MASKED MILITANTS riding in a line of SUVs, opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Christians, including children, killing at least dozens and wounding dozens. While no one has admitted to the attacks, it bears the hallmarks of the Islamic State group.
For years Islamic militants have been waging war against Christians 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. This assault happened while a bus was traveling on a side road in the desert leading to the remote monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya governorate, about 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Cairo.
Witnesses say that they saw between eight and 10 attackers, dressed in military uniforms and wearing masks. The victims were on their way to visit the monastery from the nearby province of Beni Suef.
Khaled Mogahed, the Health Ministry spokesman, said the death toll stood at 26 but feared it could rise further. According to Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack. It was not immediately known if most or all of the victims were children.
Arab TV stations showed images of a badly damaged bus along a roadside, many of its windows shattered. Ambulances were parked around it as bodies lay on the ground, covered with black plastic sheets.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for a meeting with top aides to discuss the attack.
In April, twin suicide bombings struck two churches north of Cairo on Palm Sunday, and in December, a suicide bombing targeted a Cairo church. The attacks left at least 75 dead and scores wounded. IS claimed responsibility and vowed more attacks.
Late last month, Pope Francis visited Egypt, in part to show his support for Christians in this Muslim majority Arab nation who have been increasingly targeted by Islamic militants. During the trip, Francis paid tribute to the victims of the December bombing at Cairo’s St. Peter’s church, located in close proximity to Cairo’s St. Mark’s cathedral, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
ISIS vowed to escalate attacks against Christians after the Pope had visited. ISIS warned other Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and Western embassies, saying they are targets for the group’s followers. Egypt’s Coptic Christians, which is the Middle East’s largest Christian community, have continually complained of discrimination including outright attacks, at the hands of the country’s majority Muslim population. They account for only 10 percent of Egypt’s 93 million people, but because they’re Christians, they’re not a protected minority in this world– just ask the Liberals in America.
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