Islamic Militants Kill 28 Christians in Egypt


May 26, 2017 

Some of the victims were children.


Via New York Times:

Dressed in military fatigues, the gunmen waved down the bus filled with Christian pilgrims as it wended its way down a dusty side-road in the desert of western Egypt, headed toward a monastery.

Claiming to be security officers, the gunmen ordered the passengers to get out. They separated the men from the women and children, and instructed them to surrender their mobile phones. They told the men to recite the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith.

When the men refused, the gunmen opened fire.

At least 28 people were killed, several with a single shot to the head, according to the Egyptian authorities and relatives of the victims, several of whom were children. The attack on Friday in Minya Province, 120 miles south of Cairo, was a coldblooded escalation of sectarian violence targeting minority Christians that has left more than 100 people dead since December and shaken the country’s government.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility in the latest assault. Yet it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State, which in the past six months has dispatched suicide bombers into crowded Sunday services and caused an entire community in northern Sinai to flee their homes in panic.

The Egyptian response came hours later. As President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi delivered a speech from the presidential palace warning that the attack on Christians “will not go unanswered,” the military announced that Egyptian fighter jets had carried out airstrikes on several militant camps inside Libya. In eastern Libya, a military force led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a close ally of Egypt, said it had taken part in the air raids, Reuters reported.

Some of the attacks hit the town of Derna, a base of several Islamist militias. It was not the first such reprisal. Egypt also hit targets in Libya in 2015 after militants beheaded 21 Coptic Christian migrants.

Still, the attacks on Libya hinted that the gunmen responsible for the latest violence could have come through Egypt’s western desert — a potentially new flank in a war that has until now centered on Sinai in the east of the country.


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