Egypt's Christians bury victims of latest militant attack

Egypt's Christians bury victims of latest militant attack
Mourners gather for the funeral of Coptic Christians who were killed in an attack, at the Prince Tadros Church in Minya, Egypt, November 3, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany -
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By Sayed Shaesha

MINYA, Egypt (Reuters) - Thousands of Christian mourners prepared on Saturday to bury six members of the same family who were killed while returning from a baptism at a Coptic monastery in Egypt's Minya province.

Gunmen opened fire on Friday on two buses near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya, 260 km (160 miles) up the River Nile from Cairo, killing seven people and wounding another 18, including children.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State which, along with affiliated groups, has said it was responsible for several on Egypt's Christian minority, including one that killed 28 people in almost the same spot in May 2017.

Although Egypt's army and police launched a crackdown on the militant groups in February, some of the Christian mourners blamed security lapses for repeated attacks against them.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with the campaign.

"There is a mix of sadness and pain; sadness as these painful events are being repeated and pain because Copts are part of this homeland and part of its fabric," Bishop Macarius, head of the Coptic diocese in Minya, told mourners at the Prince Tadros Church in Minya, tears streaming down his face.

Crowds spilled over from the pews screaming, sobbing and praying over six white coffins and refusing an offer of condolences from security officials.

(Reporting by Sayed Shaesha, Writing by Amina Ismail, editing by Sami Aboudi and Alexander Smith)

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