An attack on a bus carrying Copts to a monastery in Upper Egypt left seven dead and 14 wounded, according to an initial assessment delivered by the Archbishop of Minya. The attack was not claimed.
According to a spokesman for the Coptic church, Bouls Halim, the victims were shot by gunmen who opened fire on the bus.
This is not the first attack against pilgrims going to the monastery. In May 2017, armed men boarded a bus carrying worshipers and opened fire, killing 28 people.
The Islamic State (IS) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, and Egypt responded by conducting air strikes against jihadist camps in neighboring Libya.
Two months ago, Christian homes in the village of Demchaw Hashem in Minya province were also attacked and pillaged by other villagers protesting the use of houses as places of worship.
The Christian minority in Egypt, which accounts for 10 percent of the nearly 100 million people in this predominantly Muslim country, is regularly attacked, many of which have been claimed by IS.
Copts regularly attacked for two years
By the end of 2017, the IS had for example claimed a violent attack against a church south of Cairo ; a gunman opened fire in front of the church, killing 10 people.
In April 2017, the Islamist group also claimed responsibility for two bombings against Coptic churches that killed 44 people. An explosion had targeted the Mar Girgis de Tanta church, north of Cairo, and the other a Coptic church in Alexandria. These attacks took place on Palm Sunday.
In December 2016, the IS also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that left 25 dead and 49 wounded in the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo , the country’s capital.
Since this attack, more than a hundred Copts have lost their lives in such attacks.
Egyptian offensive against jihadists in Sinai
In February 2018, the Egyptian army launched a massive offensive against the jihadists of an Egyptian IS branch operating in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.
Jihadists regularly attack the security forces, especially since the army dismissed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Christians have also been attacked, causing dozens of families to flee the region in early 2017.
The army claims to have killed more than 450 jihadists since the beginning of this operation, called “Sinai 2018”.