Militants Murder Christians Returning From Baptizing a Child

Policemen stand beside the microbus that carried Coptic Christians when gunmen opened fire in Menyia, Egypt.
Policemen stand beside the microbus that carried Coptic Christians when gunmen opened fire in Menyia, Egypt. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Gunmen killed at least seven Christians who were returning from baptizing a child at a Coptic monastery in Egypt on Friday, officials said—the most serious attack on the minority in more than a year.

Six of the dead were from the same family, and another 18 people, including children, were wounded, the Coptic Church's spokesman said in a statement.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the ambush in Minya province in central Egypt, the militant group's Amaq news agency said, without providing evidence of its involvement.

"The jihadists targeted them with light weapons and killed 13 people and injured 18," the group said in a statement released much later in the evening.

"This operation comes as revenge for our chaste sisters that were arrested by the apostate Egyptian regime, and we promise more attacks to all who aid it."

Egyptian security forces on Wednesday night detained six women, including the daughter of former presidential candidate and senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater.

The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any links to Islamic State.

The attackers opened fire mid-afternoon on two buses near the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Minya, 260 km (160 miles) up the River Nile from Cairo, the church spokesman said.

Footage posted on social media showed bodies inside a bus with apparent gunshot wounds. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the pictures.

The attackers then fled, a witness at the monastery said.

Local resident Hilal told Reuters he rushed to the scene after hearing about the attack and saw the militants on the road.

"Some of us came to try and block the road. There were three four-wheel drive vehicles and the militants opened fire ... The militants wore white thobes and checkered head-dresses," he told Reuters.

"DARK TERRORISM"

Islamic State and affiliated groups have claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on Christians, including one that killed 28 people in almost the same spot in May 2017.

Egypt's army and police launched a crackdown on the militant groups in February, targeting the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the border with Libya.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign.

"I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators," he said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Kuwait all condemned the attack.

The European Union said it was a "stark reminder of the security challenges that Egypt is facing."

Egypt says fighting Islamist militants is a priority to restore stability after the years of turmoil that followed the "Arab Spring" protests in 2011.

The public prosecutor said a team of investigators has been despatched to the scene of the attack.

© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective