Seven Killed in Attack on Coptic Christians Bus in Egypt

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Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church says gunmen have opened fire on a bus carrying Christian pilgrims traveling to a remote desert monastery, killing at least seven.

A number of people were also injured in the attack in the Minya region, south of the capital Cairo.

A security official confirmed the attack in the central province of Minya, adding that there were "dead and wounded".

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Those who carried out the ambush... in Minya are fighters of the Islamic State", Amaq said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, and the security officials 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.

"I am mourning with deep sadness the martyrs who fell today at the hands of traitors who are trying to harm the tightly-knit fabric of the nation", Sisi said.

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"I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators", he said on Twitter.

Those attacks, all claimed by the Islamic State group, left at least a 100 people dead and led to tighter security around Christian places of worship and other Church-linked facilities.

Church spokesman Bouls Halim said the death toll in Friday's attack was expected to rise.

The military offensive - Dubbed "Sinai 2018" - has killed more than 450 jihadists, while about 30 Egyptian soldiers have been killed during this year's operation.

Just last month, an Egyptian military court handed down death sentences to 17 people convicted in a series of fatal attacks on Christians throughout the country since December 2016.

Copts have long complained of discrimination in Egypt and IS is not the only group to have launched sectarian attacks against the community.

In a somber message of his own, Tawadros said in a video clip released by the church that the latest attack would only make the Christians stronger.