Islamic Extremists in Egypt Slaughter Coptic Christians on Pilgrimmage to Monastery

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Heavily armed
Islamists in Egypt
ambushed a youth pilgrimage to a monastery
this morning, shooting dozens of bus
passengers to death and leaving more to
succumb to their wounds on a desert road.

Up to 28 people have been reported dead in
the attack in Minya Province, with another
23 injured, though casualty numbers are still
being confirmed.
Most of those killed or wounded were
originally reported to be children, but those
reports have not been confirmed. At this
writing only two children, Marvy Hany
Mourice, 4, and Mourisca Mina Samouel, 2,
both of Al-Omranyia, Giza have been
confirmed slain.
Those killed were all Christians, according to
survivors. The median age of the victims
was 25, according to a local human rights
activist.
The ambush started on three vehicles in the
pilgrimage – a van, a work truck and a bus
for children and youths – at 10:30
a.m. Friday (May 26) on the desert road
between Minya and St. Samuel Coptic
Orthodox Monastery, just west of the town
of Al-Idwa.
Local journalist and human rights activist
Ezz Tawfik said 10 armed men dressed in
camouflage and riding in three SUVs
approached the bus and asked passengers
their religion. When they said, “Christian,”
the Islamic terrorists forced them out of the
bus and opened fire.
Some of the militants attacked the van and
truck, and some passengers jumped from
their vehicles, only to be gunned down as
they tried to sprint away. The dead and
dying lay in the desert sand amid Islamic
leaflets left by the assailants extoling the
virtues of fasting during Ramadan and
forgiveness granted to those who abstain
from eating during the Islamic ritual.
Ramadan starts on Saturday night (May 27).
It is often seen as the worst time for
persecution of Christians who live in the
Middle East.
No one has claimed responsibility for the
attack, but it is widely thought to be the
work of the Islamic State (IS) or an allied
group. On May 5 in the IS publication “ Al
Naba,” the terrorist group warned of more
attacks in Egypt and urged faithful Muslims
to stay away from places where Christians
congregate.
Egyptian forces have struck “terrorist training
camps” in retaliation for the attack on Coptic
Christians, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi
said today. State media reported six strikes
hit the town of Derna in neighboring Libya.
On April 9, bombings at two Coptic churches,
one in Tanta and another in Alexandria,
claimed 49 lives, the overwhelming majority
Christians. On Dec. 11, 2016, 29 people were
killed when a suicide bomber attacked the
Botroseya Chapel in Cairo. The chapel is
next to the St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox
Cathedral, which is held by many as the
spiritual center of the Coptic Orthodox
Church. IS claimed responsibility for the two
bombings.
The head of the Coptic Church, Pope
Tawadros II, was at the service in Alexandria
and had finished addressing the
congregation before the blast.
The bombings followed a series of assaults
on Christians in Egypt, who make up about
10 percent of the population. A series of
murders of Coptic Christians followed, with
IS issuing threats on a Feb. 19 video
promising to rid the country of “idolaters.”
Seven Copts were killed in one month.
On Feb. 23 militants reportedly stormed into
the Al-Arish home of Kamel Youssef, then
shot and killed him in front of his family.
Two days earlier, the body of Saied Hakim,
65, was found Feb. 21 late at night in Al-
Arish behind a state-run language school,
where he was ambushed by masked
gunmen. Hakim was shot in the head several
times.
Medhat Saied, 45, Hakim’s son, was
abducted and burned alive, his body found in
the same place as his father’s, according to
local media reports. No one has claimed
responsibility for the three killings, but the
consensus is that “ Wilayat Sinai ,” the Sinai
Province branch of the Islamic State
previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis,
killed the men in a quest to terrorize
Christians and push them out of the region.
The Feb. 19 video features a recording of
the suicide statement of jihadi Abu-Abdullah
al-Masri, also known as Mahmoud Shafiq, 22,
suspected in the December bombing of the
Al Boutrosya Church. The IS speaker said
the attack was “only the first.”
“There will be more operations in the near
future, if God wills it, as you are our first
target and our preferred target in our war,”
he said. “You followers of the Cross, you
traitors of all ties – know that warriors of
the Islamic State are watching you, and our
blessed invasion won’t be our last on you.
Because what’s coming is worse and hotter
than boiling oil, so wait and see, we will be
victorious.”
Since Egypt’s 2013 coup, the military-run
government has been involved in counter-
insurgency operations in the Sinai against
members of both the Muslim Brotherhood
and Salafi groups now fighting under the
banner of the Islamic State. Military outposts
in the Sinai have been the sites of repeated
attacks by terrorist groups.
The Egyptian army has had little success
making strategic counter attacks or
effectively protecting members of the Coptic
minority constantly under assault.
On Jan. 30, Wa’el Youssef, 35, was shot
down at his small grocery store in downtown
Al-Arish. The assailants reportedly shot
Youssef in broad daylight in front of his wife
and one of their two sons. On Feb. 12,
masked militants ambushed another Copt,
Bahgat Zakher, 40, as he was driving his car
through the southern outskirts of Al-Arish. A
group of armed jihadis stopped Zakher then
shot him in the head, neck and stomach,
killing him instantly, according to local media
reports.
Another Copt to meet his death at the hands
of suspected jihadists in Al-Arish was Adel
Shawqy, 57, a day laborer, who was shot in
the head on Feb. 13.
On Feb. 16, masked men shot Gamal Girgis,
45, a Coptic schoolteacher and shoe shop
owner. They ambushed Girgis while he was
tending his shop. He was shot in the head
and chest and died instantly, according to
local media reports. The attack happened no
more than 200 meters (220 yards) from a
heavily defended army post.
If you would like to help persecuted
Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/
resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of
organizations that can orient you on how to
get involved.
Source: Christian Headline

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