Cairo (Egypt), May 27: A group of masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians when they were driving to a monastery located south of Cairo on Friday and killed 26 of them while injuring 26 others, Reuters reported quoting the Governor of Egypt’s Minya Province Essam al-Bedaiwy.
The group was travelling in two busses and a truck through the province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority, he said.
Eyewitnesses said the Coptic Christians were attacked as they were going to pray at the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in the western part of the province.
They said masked men stopped the vehicles on a road leading to the monastery and opened fire.
Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.
About 70 have been killed in bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta since December.
Those attacks were claimed by Islamic State. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack
WCC condemns attack in Egypt: The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned an attack on a bus in Egypt carrying Coptic Christians. The passengers were traveling Friday to a monastery, St. Samuel the Confessor, near the city of Minya.
Tveit offered “heartfelt condolences to the people who lost family members and friends.”
“It is shocking that this attack was directed against people who were on a pilgrimage of peace, and that this attack comes on the heels of ongoing violence and persecution,” Tveit said.
He added, “In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence."
The WCC has appealed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region “to act swiftly and boldly to safeguard the fundamental religious rights of all faiths, to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people”.