Increasing Christian Persecution, Martyrdom: ISIS gunmen killed seven (7) Christians – six (6) from the same family – and injured 18 (6+6+6) when they opened fire on two minibuses near a Coptic monastery in Egypt. Victims mourned as martyrs (Tribulation Saints). Convoy of three (3) buses.
The attackers carried out their bloody ambush near Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, 160 miles up the River Nile from Cairo, close to the spot where gunmen slaughtered 28 Christians in a similar assault in May 2017.
Archbishop of Minya, Anba Makarious, said: “Terrorists opened fire on a tour bus from Sohag province, heading back from the monastery.”
Locals said the minibuses were part of a convoy of three (3) carrying pilgrims from the remote desert monastery.
Funerals for six (6) of the seven (7) victims were held in Minya today with hundreds of mourners attending the ceremony.
Egypt’s army and police launched a crackdown on the militant groups earlier this year but Christian leaders blame security lapses for repeated attacks against them.
Bishop Macarius, head of the Coptic diocese in Minya, told mourners at the Prince Tadros Church in Minya: “There is a mix of sadness and pain.
“Sadness as these painful events are being repeated and pain because Copts are part of this homeland and part of its fabric.”
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign against militants.
He said: “I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators.”
Egypt has been waging a major military and security campaign, mainly in Sinai, but also on the border with Libya to crush militants behind a wave of attacks on security forces and civilians, including Christians.
Officials insist fighting Islamist militants is a priority to restore security after the years of turmoil that followed the “Arab Spring” protests in 2011.
The country’s public prosecutor ordered an investigation and said her had sent a team of investigators to the location and to nearby hospitals
Cairo launched a major offensive in February 2018 against ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula after a spate of attacks against Christians.
Alongside attacks against Copts, the jihadists have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in Egypt in recent years and were allegedly behind a November 2017 attack against a mosque in north Sinai that killed more than 300 (6×5) people.
The Sinia 2018 military offensive has left more than 500 (5) jihadists and 30 (6×5) Egyptian soldiers dead.
Egyptian authorities have also convicted jihadists for their role in attacks against Copts with 18 (6+6+6) people sentenced to death last month over their links to suicide attacks against churches in 2016 and 2017.