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Islamic militants have ambushed two buses carrying Christian pilgrims to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo, killing seven and wounding up to 16, according to the Interior Ministry. The province of Minya has become known for its anti-Christian violence and Egyptian authorities are already being questioned for not securing the route taken by the bus.

The official Coptic Church spokesperson account posted images on Facebook showing at least two children/young teens killed in today's attack.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's AMAQ news agency said on Friday, without providing evidence of its involvement.

The attackers "killed seven people and wounded 14, all of whom are in the Sheikh Fadel hospital in Beni Mazar" about 120 miles south of Cairo, Bishop Makarios of Minya told Agence France-Presse.

Friday's attack is the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in as many years.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a statement on his official Facebook page shortly after the attack mourning the victims, vowing to continue the war against terrorism. The previous attack in May 2017 left almost 30 people dead. One of the buses carried 28 members of the same family who were attending the church for a baptism.

According to the Archbishop in Minya, the attack took place in nearly the same place as one by Islamist militants which killed 28 Christians in May 2017. "The terrorists attacked them and fled", he said.

Copts, a Christian minority that make up 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people, have in recent years been repeatedly targeted by the The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadist group.

Friday's attack comes at a time when the church is still reeling from the July killing inside another desert monastery of its abbot.


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