Masked gunmen attacked a bus of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in Egypt, killing at least 26 people, officials said Friday.
As many as 10 assailants in three pickup trucks attacked the bus as it was traveling to the Saint Samuel monastery in the Minya state over 200 miles from Cairo, the interior ministry said.
“They used automatic weapons,” Minya governor Essam el-Bedawi told state television, which showed images of the bus with shattered windows, surrounded by police and ambulances.
Twenty-five people also were wounded in the attack, according to the health ministry.
No claim of responsibility
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, though it bears the hallmarks of Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate, which has carried out two separate attacks on Copts in the last six months.
On April 10, bomb attacks at two Coptic churches in Egypt killed at least 44 people and injured more than 100 people as worshipers were marking Palm Sunday.
Pope Francis refused to cancel a historic visit to Egypt last month amid security concerns after the attacks, instead visiting one of the bombed churches, among others, and condemning the violence carried out in the name of God.
Egypt’s Copts, the largest Christian community in the Middle East, has long been the target of Islamic extremism, as well as discrimination from the country’s Muslim-majority population.