https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/world/middleeast/egypt-coptic-christian-attack.htmlGunmen Attack Coptic Christian Convoy in Egypt, Killing at Least 20
CAIRO — Gunmen opened fire on vehicles carrying Coptic Christians in southern Egypt early Friday, killing at least 20 people, according to state news agencies, the latest deadly assault on the country’s embattled religious minority.
A Christian official in Minya Province, south of Cairo, said the assailants opened fire on a pickup truck carrying workmen and a bus carrying worshipers as they traveled in a convoy to St. Samuel’s monastery. Many of the worshipers were children.
“We are having a very hard time reaching the monastery because it is in the desert,” said the official, Ibram Samir. “It’s very confusing. But we know that children were killed.”
The governor of Minya told Reuters that the toll had reached 23 dead and 25 wounded. The workmen included gardeners and builders who worked at the monastery, Mr. Samir said.
The worshipers were heading to the monastery as part of an outing that usually includes about 40 children and a church chaperone, state news media reported, citing a church official who was not identified. Only three children were found alive on Friday after the shooting, the official said, and all were in critical condition.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing of the main Coptic cathedral in Cairo on Dec. 11, as well as for the attack at a church in Alexandria and at another in Tanta on Palm Sunday, April 9, killing a total of at least 78 people. In February, a small Christian community in northern Sinai fled the town of El Arish after a series of gun attacks on homes and businesses.
After the Palm Sunday attacks, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt declared a state of emergency. The violence was condemned by Pope Francis during his visit to Egypt last month.
Violence is not the only problem facing Christians in Egypt, many of whom have left the country in recent years. Official discrimination makes the practice of Christianity so difficult that some churches operate virtually in hiding.
The leadership of the Coptic Church, under Pope Tawadros II, has given vocal support to Mr. Sisi, who came to power in 2013. But that support has also made Copts a target for elements of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. After security forces killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators in central Cairo in 2013, Islamists attacked hundreds of Coptic churches and homes.
Tensions between Christians and Muslims are highest in Minya, the province that experienced the worst attacks on Copts in 2013 — and where the bus attack on Friday occurred.
What a shame. About 10% of the Egyptian population is Christian, so at this rate they'll be completely gone from Egypt in the coming years