As many as ten attackers dressed in military uniforms stormed a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo on Friday killing at least 28 people and wounding 22 others, Egyptian officials confirmed. The victims included children. The Coptic Christians were on they way to visit a monastery. Arab TV stations showed images of a severely damaged bus along a roadside with most of its windows shattered. Ambulances were parked around the bus with bodies covered in black plastic sheets all over the ground.
No group has claimed responsibility yet for the attack, but Egypt’s Coptic Christians have become a primary target for the Islamic State in the region. The Copts are the Middle East’s largest Christian community and have had increasing calls for help due to the discrimination and violence that they continually face at the hands of the country’s majority Muslim population. Coptic Christians account for roughly 10% of Egypt’s 93 million people.
This latest act of terror against the Christian minority group follows the twin suicide bombings on Palm Sunday in April and another attack that happened in a Cairo church in December. ISIS in Egypt claimed responsibility for both of those attacks and vowed to commit more of them. The intensity of attacks has increased since many of Egypt’s Christians rallied around the former general, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. He successfully ousted his Islamist predecessor, Mohammed Morsi, to become Egypt’s president in 2013. Morsi was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood group. Attacks on Christian homes, businesses and churches have surged in the years that have followed, especially in the southern portion of the country.
In February, members of ISIS released a video saying that Egyptian Christians were their “favorite prey.” The video shows images of a suicide bomber who killed almost 30 people inside a packed Cairo church in December. “God gave orders to kill every infidel,” one of the militants carrying an AK-47 assault rifle said in the video.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a security message stating that it was aware of a potential threat posted on a website by the Hassm Group, a known terrorist organization. It is likely that the target was this bus traveling to the St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery, about 140 miles south of Cairo.
Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families of all the victims in this most recent attack on the Coptic Christians of Egypt.
Credit: Fox News