An Egyptian military helicopter flies over debris from a Russian airliner which crashed at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, November 1, 2015. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Gunmen killed at least seven Christians in an attack on a bus near a Coptic monastery in Egypt on Friday, authorities said - the most serious assault on the minority in more than a year.
No group immediately claimed responsibility, but militants linked to Islamic State have regularly targeted Christians.
The attackers struck close to Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, 260 km (160 miles) up the River Nile from Cairo, the Archbishop of Minya, Anba Makarious, told Reuters.
The attack took place very close to the spot where gunmen killed 28 Christians in a similar assault in May 2017.
"Terrorists opened fire on a tour bus from Sohag province, heading back from the ... monastery," the archbishop said. He had earlier said the bus was approaching the monastery.
He said seven people were killed and 14 were wounded. State news agency MENA, citing a security source, put the number of injured at seven and said the bus was transporting Christians.
Local residents said the bus was part of a convoy.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with a campaign against militants.
"I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators," he said on Twitter.
Egypt has been waging a major military and security campaign, mainly in Sinai, but also on the border with Libya to crush militants behind a wave of attacks on security forces and civilians, including Christians.
Egypt says fighting Islamist militants is a priority to restore security after the years of turmoil that followed the "Arab Spring" protests in 2011.
Egypt's public prosecutor ordered an investigation and said her had sent a team of investigators to the location and to nearby hospitals.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>