ISIS claims attack on Christian pilgrims in Egypt

ISIS's Sinai branch claims attack on three buses carrying Christian pilgrims in which 7 were killed.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

ISIS terrorists
ISIS terrorists

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group on Friday claimed an attack on three buses carrying Christian pilgrims on their way to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo, The Associated Press reported.

Seven people were killed in the attack and three others were wounded, said the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Interior Ministry.

The local ISIS affiliate, which calls itself Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by the group’s Amaq propaganda news agency.

Though its claim could be immediately verified, ISIS has repeatedly stated its intention to target Egypt's Christians as punishment for their support of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, noted AP.

Sisi wrote on his Twitter account that Friday's attack was designed to harm the "nation's solid fabric" and pledged to continue fighting terrorism.

Christian sites of worship across Egypt have been repeatedly targeted in attacks claimed by ISIS, prompting the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population and have been continuously targeted by jihadists in recent years.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years. Most of the attacks in the region during this time period have been claimed by the Sinai Province.

In February, Egypt launched operation “Sinai 2018” in a bid to rid the Sinai Peninsula of Islamist terrorists.

Friday's attack is the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in as many years. The previous attack in May 2017 left nearly 30 people dead.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said Friday's attackers used secondary dirt roads to reach the buses carrying the pilgrims, who were near the monastery at the time of the attack.

The Interior Ministry said police were pursuing the attackers, who fled the scene.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)