Seven killed in attack on Coptic Christian bus in Egypt

1 / 2
The attack on the bus took place near a monastery. (Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church via AP)
2 / 2
The pilgrims were on their way to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery when they were attacked. (Wikipedia Commons)
Updated 03 November 2018

Seven killed in attack on Coptic Christian bus in Egypt

  • President El-Sisi vows to continue fight against militants in the country
  • The pilgrims were on their way to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital in Minya province

CAIRO: Seven people were killed and 20 wounded on Friday when gunmen opened fire on three buses carrying Coptic Christians.

The attack took place near the remote desert monastery of St Samuel in Minya province.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi offered condolences for the victims and vowed to push ahead with a campaign to crush militants in the country.

"I wish a speedy recovery to the injured and assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators," El-Sisi said.

Security forces rushed to the scene and ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals nearby, a security source told Arab News.

Coptic Orthodox Church spokesman Bouls Halim said the death toll in the attack was likely to rise, AP reported.

Egypt's Coptic priest Agathon speaks to a woman at the Sheikh Fadel hospital where she was being treated for her injuries in the attack. (AFP)

Daesh, which has carried out similar attacks, said it was behind the massacre. The extremist militants have been fighting security forces in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt's border with Libya.

The attack was widely condemned, including by Saudi Arabia, which said it stood by Egypt against acts of terror and offered condolences to the victims' families.

Friday’s attack is the second to target pilgrims vsiting the St Samuel monastery in as many years. A Daesh attack on a bus convoy in Minya in May 2017 killed at least 29 people.

A security source told Arab News that the gunmen attacked the bus on side roads leading to the monastery after the main route had been closed by police for security reasons since the 2017 attack. Communications networks in the area had also been disrupted for the same reason.

Al-Adwa, Beni Mazar and Maghagha hospitals declared a state of emergency as they treated the injured.

A spokesman for the monastery, Peter Lahami, said there were people with very serious injuries and that the death toll could increase.

Another church source said the bus had come from Margarijs in Sohag. 

Coptic expert Robier Al-Faris said that after Egypt’s major security operation in Sinai to clear militants from the peninsula, some of the extremists had spread south to continue attacks.

The Egyptian security forces have recently carried out several raids on militant targets, training camps and support centers in Upper Egypt. 

Last week, 11 extremists from the mountainous area of Dashlout-Farafra in Assiut province were killed.

A week before, nine militants were killed in a mountain cave in a remote area of Assiut.

The attack last year was the latest in a deadly series that targeted churches in Cairo,  Alexandria and Tanta in the Nile Delta

Those attacks, all claimed by Daesh, killed at least 100 people and led to tighter security around Christian places of worship and other Church-linked facilities.

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

Updated 20 September 2019

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

  • Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies
  • Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country's army chief.
Demonstrators gathered near the capital's main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria's protest movement that forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.
"The people want the fall of Gaid Salah," the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. "Take us all to prison, the people will not stop."
Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.
Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.
The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika's departure.
The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president's loyalists -- including Gaid Salah himself -- before any vote.
In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.
Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.
As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.
Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as "illegal".
Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika's bid for a fifth presidential term.