At least 28 people including children were murdered and 25 injured after masked Muslim terrorists opened fire on buses carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Up to 10 masked Muslim terrorists, dressed in military uniforms stopped a convoy in Minya province, 140 miles south of Cairo, as the group was heading towards Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha to pray.
The gunmen, who arrived in three four-wheel drive vehicles, used automatic weapons to spray bullets at the convoy before fleeing. A health ministry official said a ‘large number’ of victims were children.
The group was travelling in a convoy of two buses and a truck from the nearby province of Bani Suief when the mass shooting happened.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came on the eve of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
It comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for three deadly church attacks in December and April that claimed the lives of dozens of people.
The jihadists threatened more attacks against the Arab country’s Christians, who make up around 10 per cent of its population of about 90 million.
Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed the vehicle riddled with machine-gun fire and its windows shot out. Ambulances were parked around it as bodies lay on the ground, covered with black plastic sheets.
Security forces launched a hunt for the terrorists, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.
The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old centre of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilise the country.
‘I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,’ Ahmed al-Tayeb said from Germany, where he was on a visit.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called a meeting of security officials, the state news agency said.