Attackers of Egyptian Christians trained in Libya

Author

29 May, 2017

The Egyptian military said the operation was ongoing and had been undertaken once it had been ascertained that the camps had produced the gunmen behind the attack on the Coptic Christians in Minya, southern Egypt, on Friday morning.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, said the death toll stood at 28 and could rise.

"Egypt will not hesitate in striking terror camps anywhere, either inside (the country) or outside it", said Sisi in a televised address.

Egypt's foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Saturday that the militants who attacked a bus convoy of Coptic Christians a day earlier were trained at a camps inside Libya.

Six air strikes against "terror camps in Libya" were reported by the state-run television. More than 20 people were injured.

The extremist group Daesh "ISIS" had claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus outside of Cairo that killed at least 29 Coptic Christians including 10 children.

Persecution of Egypt's Christians has spiked since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011, and as an ISIS affiliate wages an insurgency on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

"Our nation will protect its national security by all means at its disposal", Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told RT Arabic.

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Last month, el-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency following twin suicide bombings that struck two churches north of Cairo on Palm Sunday.

Earlier in the evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the attack, sending condolences to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Egyptian people.

The Coptic Christians were traveling Friday to St. Samuel the Confessor, around 62 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of the city of Minya, when they came under fire, the Interior Ministry said.

In December an IS suicide bomber attacked another church in Cairo, killing 29 people.

In a sharply worded statement, Trump condemned terrorists who were "engaged in a war against civilization" and decried the "merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt".

Egypt's Christian minority, which makes up about 10% of the country's population, has repeatedly been targeted by armed groups.

Sisi told Pope Towadros II, the pope of the Coptic church in Egypt, in a phone call on Friday that the state would not rest easy until the perpetrators of the attack were punished.


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