Latest on attack on bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt

CAIRO (AP) – The Latest on the attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt (all times local):

4 p.m. – Israel is strongly condemning the attack by masked gunmen on a bus carrying Christians in neighboring Egypt that killed 28 people.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement Friday sending “condolences from the Israeli people to the Egyptian people and to President el-Sissi.”

It says “terrorism will be defeated quicker if all countries act together against it.”

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 and maintain close security cooperation.

The bus attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for three attacks against churches since December that left about 75 people dead. The group recently warned Egyptian Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings because it intends to carry out more attacks.

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3:30 p.m. – The militant Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza is condemning the attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a statement Friday called the shooting “an ugly crime,” of which “the enemies of Egypt” are the only beneficiaries.

Egyptian security officials said 28 people were killed and 22 wounded in an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo earlier in the day.

The Palestinian militant group is seeking to improve relations with neighboring Egypt.

After winning legislative elections in 2006, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in bloody street battles from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the following year.

Gaza has suffered increasing hardship under Hamas’ rule, which triggered a border blockade by both Egypt and Israel.

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03:20 p.m. – Egyptian security and medical officials say the death toll in the shooting by masked gunmen of a bus carrying Christians, many of them children, on their way to a remote desert monastery has risen to 28.

The officials say the Friday attack south of Cairo also left 22 people wounded.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The latest attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for three attacks against churches since December that left about 75 people dead. It has recently warned Egyptian Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings because it intends to carry out more attacks.

-Hamza Hendawi in Cairo.

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1:50 p.m. – The German government is condemning the attack against a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt in which 24 people were killed and 25 wounded.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman says the news was being received with “deep sorrow,” noting that German is currently hosting a large gathering of the Protestant Church that Coptic Christians are attending too.

Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Germany “condemns in the strongest possible terms these kinds of attacks on believers” and grieves with the victims and their relatives.

Schaefer says Germany will cooperate with Egypt “to ensure that things like this don’t happen again in future.”

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12:20 p.m. – Egyptian state TV says 23 people were killed and 25 wounded in an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo.

The report quotes local health officials as saying that the attack happened on Friday while the bus was traveling on the road to the St. Samuel Monastery in the Minya governorate, about 220 kilometers, or 140 miles, south of the Egyptian capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

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