Christian victims of militant attack buried in Egypt


Egyptian Christians buried six members of the same family shot while returning from a baptism at a Coptic monastery in Minya province.

Two buses were attacked on Friday near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya, 260 km up the Nile from Cairo. Seven people were killed and 18 wounded, including children.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State which, along with affiliated groups, said it was responsible for several attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority, including one that killed 28 people in the same area in May 2017.

There has been a lull in attacks on Christians since December, when a gunman killed 11 people at a church and Christian-owned shop near Cairo.

Egypt’s army and police launched a crackdown on militant groups in February some Christian mourners said security should be tighter.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign.
“There is a mix of sadness and pain,” Bishop Macarius, head of the Coptic diocese in Minya, told mourners at Prince Tadros Church. “Sadness as these painful events are repeated and pain because Copts are part of this homeland and of its fabric.”

Mourners spilled out of the pews screaming, sobbing and praying over six white coffins and rejecting condolences from members of the security services.

The Copts, an Orthodox denomination who make up about 10% of Egypt’s more than 90 million inhabitants, are the Middle East’s largest Christian community. They have long complained of persecution and insufficient protection.

At Saturday’s funeral, the congregation shouted out when Macarius thanked police and soldiers for their support, chanting: “No, no … with blood and soul, we will defend you, oh cross!”

Government pledged 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($5,600) in compensation to families of the dead and 50,000 to those who needed extended medical treatment, state news agency MENA said.