CAIRO (Reuters, AFP) – Masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians in southern Egypt on Friday (May 26), killing 26 people and wounding 26 others as they were driving to a monastery, medical sources and eyewitnesses said.
The group was travelling in two buses and a small truck in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority, the sources said.
Provincial governor Essam al-Bedaiwy said earlier that 23 people had been killed and 25 wounded.
Eyewitnesses said the Copts 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.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack.
In January, bombings killed dozens at two churches in the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country’s Coptic Christian minority.
The first bombing on Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis church in Tanta city, north of Cairo, killed 27 people, the health ministry said. The second struck outside Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria, killing 17 people after a suicide bomber was prevented from entering the building.
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and has claimed scores of attacks on security forces there.
But it has been unable to seize population centres, unlike its early gains in Iraq and Syria, and it has also lost top militants to Egyptian military strikes in recent months.
The NYT reports: Many of the worshipers were children.
A Christian official in Minya Province, south of Cairo, said the assailants opened fire on a pickup truck carrying workmen and a bus carrying worshipers as they traveled in a convoy to St. Samuel’s monastery. Many of the worshipers were children.
The worshipers were heading to the monastery as part of an outing that usually includes about 40 children and a church chaperone, state news media reported, citing a church official who was not identified. Only three children were found alive on Friday after the shooting, the official said, and all were in critical condition.
At least one source reported the death toll is up to 35:
NBC reports, as did most Islam-pandering media, without even hypothesizing whom the gunmen might be:
Masked gunmen killed 28 people on a bus carrying Coptic Christians, Egyptian authorities said.
One social media intel gatherer found this:
In 2013, an Egyptian Muslim beheaded two Coptic Christians…in NEW JERSEY!!!