Egypt's Authorities Apprehend Suspects in Probe Into Attack on Coptic Christians


Egyptian authorities say the death toll in the ambush attack on a bus transporting Christians to a monastery south of Cairo has risen to 29.

28 Coptic Christians, including ten children, were killed in a shooting attack on a deserted road about 62 miles northwest of the city of Minya, Egypt on Friday and at least 23 others were injured, some critically.

The airstrikes continued on Saturday, the Egyptian state television reported.

The Egyptian President, in a televised address shortly after the attack, indicated that he had ordered quick retaliation on the militants: air raids against terrorist camps which allegedly trained the attackers of the Coptic Christians in Minya province, Southern Egypt.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident - the fourth deadly attack targeting Christians since December a year ago when a suicide bomber struck a chapel next to St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, killing 29 people.

Cairo, Jeddah - Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz phoned Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Saturday reiterating his kingdom's support to all measurements taken by Egypt's government to combat terrorism.

A man is comforted by others as he mourns over Egyptian Coptic Christians.

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"The aim of the terrorists is to split Egypt into two countries, one Christian, and another Muslim".

"There was enough information and evidence of the terrorist elements involved in the (attack) having trained in these camps", a foreign ministry statement quoted him as saying.

In a speech on Friday, Sisi said setbacks to IS in Syria were driving its fighters to try to relocate to Libya and Egypt's Sinai. The east Libyan air force said the strikes were targeting Al Qaeda linked forces.

Sisi told Pope Towadros II, the pope of the Coptic church in Egypt, in a phone call on Friday that the state would not rest easy until the perpetrators of the attack were punished. Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern over militants crossing from Libya to carry out attacks. It was the fourth to target the country's Christian minority since December.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, which killed 29 people.

El-Sissi, in his televised address, said of the US president: "I direct my appeal to President Trump: I trust you, your word and your ability to make fighting global terror your primary task".