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ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt bus attack; 29 Christians killed

02 June 2017

The massacre took place in the central Egyptian province of Minya on Friday, as the Coptic Christians were travelling on a bus to a monastery. Apart from that, the testimonies of those who had survived in the attack are expected to help the experts identify the attackers, the news outlet added.

Last month two church bombings killed more than 45. also claimed by the so-called Islamic State.

Three four-wheel drive vehicles carrying at least ten gunmen flagged down the two buses and one truck carrying people on a desolate desert road to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor. ISIS claimed responsibility for those attacks.

A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the Israeli premier "sends the condolences of the Israeli people to President al-Sisi and the Egyptian people".

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State TV also aired footage said to show the air strikes on militants' positions in Derna in eastern Libya.

Relatives of killed Coptic Christians look on as they gather during the funeral at Abu Garnous Cathedral in the north Minya town of Maghagha on May 26, 2017.

President Trump condemned Friday's attack. "This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls". At least 70 have been killed since December in attacks claimed by ISIS at Coptic churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, and Tanta.

In response, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said late Friday that Egyptian jets carried out airstrikes on a bases in Libya purportedly used by militants who carried out the killings. It marks a change from former President Barack Obama, who often kept el-Sissi at a distance and criticized Egypt's human rights record and suspended some USA military aid.

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"Egypt will never hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere... inside Egypt, of course, or overseas", Sisi said.

Coptic Christians, which make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's 91 million population, have faced persecution in Egypt, which has spiked since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011. Attacks on Christian homes, businesses and churches subsequently surged, especially in the country's south, traditionally Egypt's Christian heartland.

The Minya attack is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt's Christians, following the Palm Sunday Suicide Bombings. A telegram from the Vatican read: "Deeply saddened to learn of the barbaric attack in central Egypt and of the tragic loss of life and injury caused by this senseless act of hatred".

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ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt bus attack; 29 Christians killed