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7 dead in attack on bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt: church

CAIRO: At least seven Coptic Christians were killed Friday when gunmen opened fire on their bus in central Egypt, said the province’s bishop told AFP.

A security official confirmed the attack in Minya province, adding that there were “dead and wounded”.

Copts, a Christian minority that make up 10 percent of Egypt’s 96 million people, have in recent years been repeatedly targeted by militants.

The Islamic State (IS) killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April 2017 and a month later shot dead almost 30 Christians in Minya province as they headed to a monastery on a bus.

Last month, the Egyptian military sentenced 17 people to death over a series of suicide bombings of churches claimed by IS that left dozens dead.

Seventy-four people were killed in the attacks in 2016 and 2017 targeting Coptic Christians in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta.

Read More: Masked gunmen kill 28 in attack on Christians in Egypt

The court also sentenced 19 people to life in prison and 10 others to between 10 and 15 years, judicial and security officials said.

A suicide attack on 11 December 2016 on the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church killed 29 in the heart of Cairo. The following April, 45 people were killed as Christians gathered to celebrate Palm Sunday in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

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