Egypt: Shock in Minya gives way to anger after anti-Christian attack

Egypt: Shock in Minya gives way to anger after anti-Christian attack
Egypt: Shock in Minya gives way to anger after anti-Christian attack
©
AFP
/ MOHAMED EL-SHAHED

The families of the victims of an anti-Christian jihadist attack in Egypt buried their angry dead on Saturday in the province of Minya, where security has been stepped up because of the tense climate.

Under heavy police surveillance, hundreds of people gathered in and around Prince Tadros Church for the funeral, an AFP journalist said. Many devotees overwhelmed by emotion were sick.

"We will not forget the promises of the leaders, including those of the President of the Republic, to punish criminals," said the bishop of Minya Makarios at the church of the Coptic community deadly jihadist attacks in Egypt, a country with a large Muslim majority.

The coffins of six of the seven victims were transported to the Minya cemetery, some 250 km south of Cairo. The seventh victim, of evangelical confession, was buried in the night.

On Friday, assailants opened fire on a bus carrying Christian worshipers, killing seven and wounding seven, an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group nearly a year after its latest attack on the Christian minority. The faithful returned home after making a pilgrimage to the monastery of St. Samuel.

An investigation was opened and the security forces, present en masse in the area, continued their search to find the perpetrators of the attack.

"Feeling of hate?"

In the night, at Minya Hospital, the families of the victims were angry and the tension was noticeable, which pushed the authorities to strengthen security in the area.

"I will not see him anymore …": in front of the entrance to the morgue, a woman sitting on the ground cries for her son, waiting for her body to bury him.

Beside, a group of people rush to carry the coffin of one of the victims and put it in an ambulance that will take him to the church.

In front of the hospital, Michel, 23, wonders if the purpose of the attack is to create a feeling of hatred among the Copts towards Muslims. "What do these terrorists want, that we hate Muslims?", Told AFP the young man who lost a neighbor in the attack.

"Do I have to carry a weapon to go to pray or rather to stay at home so that I do not get killed when I go to church?", He continues, lamenting the deaths of "three brothers, aged 45, 41 and 15″ in the attack.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack. "The perpetrators of the ambush on the road to the + monastery of St. Samuel + in Minya are fighters of the Islamic State," said the propaganda organ of the jihadist Amaq.

"Fight terrorism"

According to a Coptic monk who accompanied Bishop Makarios to the hospital, the 24 survivors of the attack "were taken to the church of Cheikh Fadl village to spend the night there,” near.

Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali announced that the state would pay 100,000 Egyptian pounds (4,900 euros) to the family of each of the victims, as well as a monthly pension to families of 1,500 pounds (73 euros).

A black series has hit the Copts since the end of 2016. In December 2016, a suicide attack, claimed by the IS, against a church in Cairo, contiguous to St. Mark's Cathedral, seat of the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church Tawadros II , had made 29 dead.

The latest deadly attack on Coptic worshipers was in December 2017, when an IS jihadist killed nine people in a church south of Cairo. In May 2017, in the same area as Friday's attack, 28 Coptic pilgrims, many of them children, were killed in Minya by gunmen. They also made a pilgrimage to the monastery of St. Samuel.

President Abdel Fattah Sissi said Friday his "determination to continue fighting terrorism".

IS still manages to strike despite an army offensive launched several months ago against the jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, which has made hundreds of dead by extremists according to the authorities.

The Coptic community is the largest and oldest Christian community in the Middle East, with about 10 percent of the estimated 100 million Egyptians.

03/11/2018 14:56:15 –
Minya (Egypt) (AFP) –
© 2018 AFP

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