Egypt Attack: Gunfire On Bus Carrying Coptic Christians Kills At Least 26

Masked gunmen riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a packed bus taking Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of Egypt's capital, killing at least 28 people, including two little children, authorities said.

Egyptian security and medical officials told the Associated Press news agency that the death toll in the shooting has risen to 28.

The worshipers were on their way to the monastery for an outing that typically includes about 40 children and a church chaperone, state news media reported.

This attack comes after a high-profile visit by Pope Francis in response to attacks on two churches on Palm Sunday.

Arab TV stations showed images of a badly damaged bus along a roadside, many of its windows shattered.

"They used automatic weapons", he said.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and were searching for the attackers.

A group of masked gunmen opened fire on Coptic Christians in southern Egypt Friday, killing at least 26 and wounding 25.

Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, have repeatedly complained of discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at the hands of the country's majority Muslim population.

On Sunday, Egyptian Attorney General Nabil Sadik said he referred 48 suspected Islamic State militants to a military court over the bombing of Coptic churches.

The Palestinian militant group is seeking to improve relations with neighboring Egypt.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack on Friday and reaffirmed "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to worldwide peace and security".

Every year, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Islamic terror attacks during the month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast every day from morning to sunset.

Friday's attack is the third against Christians in Egypt in six months.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's population of 91 million. It followed a series of church bombings claimed by Islamic State in a campaign of violence against the Copts.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months.

About 70 have been killed since December in bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta.

As the United Kingdom continues to investigate the Manchester attack, another terrorist attack just happened in Minya, Egypt, and it was even more deadly.

A suicide bomber also blew himself up in the main Coptic Christian cathedral of Saint Mark's in Cairo last December.

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