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At least seven killed in attack on Coptic Christian bus in Egypt

04 November 2018

Officials say gunmen opened fire on the Christians who were returning from baptizing a child at a Coptic monastery.

The attack took place near the spot where gunmen killed 28 Christians in a similar assault in May 2017.

Since 2016, more than 80 people have been killed and 150 wounded in attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Although Egypt's army and police launched a crackdown on the militant groups in February, some of the Christian mourners blamed security lapses for repeated attacks against them.

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"I mourn with deep sorrow the martyrs who were killed today by treacherous hands which aim to undermine the solid fabric of the nation, and I wish speedy recovery for the injured", El-Sisi said.

Islamic State has repeatedly stated its intention to target Egypt's Christians as punishment for their support of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi who, as defence minister, led the military's 2013 ouster of an Islamist president, whose one-year rule proved divisive. In August, a would-be suicide bomb attack against Copts in Cairo was thwarted after the attacker's explosive device detonated en route to a Christian church, killing only himself.

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. About 30 people are killed.

Coptic Orthodox Church spokesman Bouls Halim said the death toll in Friday's attack was likely to rise.

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Under heavy guard by masked security personnel on Saturday, hundreds of angry Copts gathered in and around Minya's Prince Tadros church from dawn for the funeral of six victims.

The group was heading to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor, located in the western desert.

Those attacks, all claimed by IS, left at least 100 people dead and led to tighter security around Christian places of worship and other Church-linked facilities. Previous ones targeted churches packed with worshippers in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and Tanta in the Nile Delta north of the capital, leaving at least 100 people dead.

The public prosecutor said a team of investigators has been dispatched to the scene of the attack to investigate. They have long complained of persecution and insufficient protection.

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At least seven killed in attack on Coptic Christian bus in Egypt