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Image: A priest walking towards the St. Samuel Monastery. On May 26th, a bus full of Christians traveling to the monastery were raided by gunmen. (AP Photo / Amr Nabil)

At least 28 people have been killed and about 24 wounded after a bus carrying Coptic Christians were fired upon by gunmen.

The believers were travelling to a church for Ascension Day services when the bus they were on was attacked in Minya province, central Egypt. Security sources told state news agency MENA that two cars carrying gunmen attacked the bus.

When the militants intercepted their truck and two buses at gunpoint, they forced all the Copts to give over their jewellery, money and mobile phones. They then ordered the Christians to convert to Islam. When the Copts refused, the attackers opened fire, shooting most of their victims in the head. A number of children were confirmed among the dead.

Survivors of the attack said the black flag of the so-called Islamic State was displayed on the attackers’ 4×4 vehicles. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the Minya attack.

Continuing Deadly Assaults

And again in 29 May, a guard reportedly found the bomb inside a paper box by the gate outside an Egyptian church just south of the capital, Cairo. “quickly informed the security forces, who promptly dismantled it and cordoned the area off”, according to Coptic news site Watani.

Christians have been the target of multiple Islamist attacks this year. So-called Islamic State militants threatened to wipe out Egypt’s Christians earlier this year, resulting in a spate of murders against believers. The militant group also claimed responsibility for the attacks on two churches on Palm Sunday, which left at least 49 Christians dead.

However, Al-Azhar, the centre of Islamic Sunni learning in Cairo, announced on 13 May that it would form a committee to draft a new law for submission to the Egyptian Parliament, to confront hatred and violence in the name of religion.

Please pray for the church of Egypt, especially during the Ramadan, as they received one attack after the other with deep pain. May the Lord have mercy on Egypt, and may his light open the dark minds and hearts.

Source: BBC; MENA; World Watch Monitor; Open Doors

PLEASE PRAY:

  • For comfort for the victims of this attack and their families, and that they receive the physical and emotional support they need
  • That believers in Egypt would be protected as they face increased attacks
  • That Islamist extremism in Egypt would not take hold, and that those who are vulnerable to radicalisation would be protected
  • That God would change the hearts of those planning and carrying out attacks and turn them to Himself.