Egypt Kills 19 Militants Suspected in Christian Attack

Egypt Kills 19 Militants Suspected in Christian Attack

Egypt Kills 19 Militants Suspected in Christian Attack

Nineteen jihadists allegedly linked to the anti-Coptic attack that killed seven people on Friday in Minya, central Egypt, were killed in an exchange of "Gun shots" with the police, the Interior Ministry announced on Sunday.

"Terrorist elements opened fire on the (security) forces, who responded", the ministry explained.

The 19 suspected jihadists were found "as part of a pursuit of terrorist elements involved in carrying out hostile operations in the country, including the last armed attack which targeted citizens returning from the Saint Samuel monastery", the ministry said.

Security forces killed the suspects in a firefight after a chase in a mountainous area of the desert west of Minya governorate, the ministry said in a statement.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, claimed responsibility for the attack, although it provided no evidence of its involvement.

It published photographs purportedly showing the bodies of the slain gunmen, as well as rifles, shotguns and other weapons seized at the hideout.

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EI jihadists regularly attack Copts, who represent about 10% of the population of almost 100 million Nation.

In 2017, an attack on the same monastery killed 29 persons.

"I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they were Christian", he added. He said he was praying for the "pilgrims killed for the sole fact of being Christians", asking that those grieving be comforted.

There had been a lull in major attacks since December when a gunman attacked a church and a Christian-owned shop near Cairo. They have long complained of discrimination.

Addressing a meeting of youths in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, el-Sissi on Sunday sought to send out a message of reconciliation.

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