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Ramadan begins in Egypt: 26 Christians dead, 26 wounded

4

As I warned here at the Geller Report just yesterday. This is just the first day. This Ramadan promises to be, as always, a bloody month.

“26 killed, 26 injured as gunmen fire on Coptic Christian convoy in Egypt,” Straits Times, May 26, 2017:

CAIRO (Bloomb erg, Reuters, AFP) – Gunmen in military fatigues opened fire on a bus carrying members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority killing at least 26 people, including children, the latest in a string of militant attacks targeting the community.

Another 26 were wounded in the assault in Minya province, some 200km south of Cairo, said Ministry of Health spokesman Khaled Mogahed.

The Copts were on their way to the Saint Samuel monastery, according to Minya’s governor Issam al-Bedewi. Bishop Anba Ermia, president of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre, said on Twitter that the attack may have killed as many as 35 people in a convoy of vehicles.

Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed its windows shot out.

“They used automatic weapons,” Bedawi told state television.

Bedawi said police were fanning out along the road where the attack took place and had set up checkpoints.

The attack came days after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi joined US President Donald Trump and top Arab leaders to launch a new centre in the Saudi capital Riyadh to combat the Islamist ideologies behind terrorism.

“They’re hitting at countries’ weakest points,” said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs. “It’s not a classic war. Tanks, fighter jets are not fit to counter this kind of threat.”

The morning assault began when about 10 men wearing military-style clothing opened fire, according to Major Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, who’s with the Minya security directorate.

It occurred in upper Egypt, an area where militants had previously been active in the 1990s and 2000s, especially in fighting between the government and the Sunni group Gamaa Al-Islamiya. Tensions between Muslims and Christians frequently flare.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack.

In January, bombings killed dozens at two churches in the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country’s Coptic Christian minority.

The first bombing on Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis church in Tanta city, north of Cairo, killed 27 people, the health ministry said. The second struck outside Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria, killing 17 people after a suicide bomber was prevented from entering the building.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and has claimed scores of attacks on security forces there….

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