Seven Coptic Christians were killed and 12 more injured in Egypt when a bus traveling to a desert monastery south of Cairo was ambushed by Islamic militants.
The bus was traveling to St Samuel the Confessor monastery on November 2, when a number of attackers approached the vehicle from nearby dirt roads and opened fire. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
One pilgrim was buried on Friday while the remaining six were buried on Saturday.
Mourners expressed grief and anger as they left Prince Tadros church in the city of Minya, where the bodies of the six victims lay.
On Saturday, people displayed their anger and frustration: according to news agency AFP, the coffins were carried away from the church accompanied by cries of “with our souls, with our blood, we will defend the Cross!”, while security members – sent to guard the congregation – were booed.
The ambush is very similar to an attack in May 2017, which also involved a bus heading to visit the monastery of St Samuel the Confessor.
That attack which killed 29 people and left 22 injured, was eventually claimed by the Islamic State as well.
Last year, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have suffered numerous attacks by Islamic militants after ISIS issued a call to target the country’s Christians in February 2017. In addition to the bus massacre in Minya in May of that year, 45 people were killed and over 125 were injured in two separate bombings of Coptic churches on Palm Sunday.
In December 2017, 11 people were shot and killed in an Islamist attack on a church in the city of Helwan.
About 10% of Egypt’s population are Christian, the vast majority of whom are Coptic Orthodox.
In April of 2017, following the Palm Sunday bombings, Pope Francis travelled to Cairo and appeared in public with the Coptic Pope Tawadros II and other religious figures. Pope Francis honoured various Coptic martyrs during this visit, and declared that the sufferings of the Copts “are also our sufferings”.