A terror attack on three buses carrying Egyptian Christians left at least seven dead and 19 injured on Friday 2 November. The buses were travelling to well-known Christian historical site near Minya.
Six of the seven murdered Christians came from the same extended family. A number of news outlets have reported that “local Islamic State affiliates” have claimed responsibility for the attack.
A bus taking Christians to the same site was attacked by Islamic State in May 2017. A total of 29 Christians were murdered. The government responded at the time by suspending all large Christian gatherings due to concerns over security and closing the main road to the Christian site.
President al-Sisi released a statement condemning the latest bus shooting, speaking of his “sorrow for the martyrs” and denouncing the “treacherous” actions of those “seeking to undermine the cohesive fabric of the [Egyptian] homeland”. The President’s recognition that the Christians were martyred for their faith is powerful statement that will be a comfort to Egypt’s Christian community, who have been the targets of multiple Islamist terror attacks in recent years.
The attack was also condemned by Cairo’s historic al-Azhar University, the world’s leading Sunni academic institution. Al-Azhar released a statement that “the perpetrators of this cowardly act of terrorism are criminals stripped of humanity. They are far from the teachings of religions that call for coexistence; peace; renunciation of violence, hatred and terrorism, and criminalization of killing innocents.”