Children Among Minya Attack Victims, Egypt Orders Investigation

The Egyptian city of Minya is located about 270km south of the capital Cairo

The Egyptian city of Minya is located about 270km south of the capital Cairo

Thousands of Christian mourners prepared on Saturday to bury six members of the same family who were killed while returning from a baptism at a Coptic monastery in Egypt's Minya province.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

At least seven Coptic Christians were killed, and dozens more injured on Friday when gunmen opened fire on their bus in central Egypt.

It's the latest in a number of deadly assaults against minority Christians in the Middle East's most populous country in recent years.

Although Egypt's army and police launched a crackdown on the militant groups in February, some of the Christian mourners blamed security lapses for repeated attacks against them.

"The UAE stands in solidarity with Egypt with the government and people of sisterly Egypt in confronting extremism and terrorism, which seek to undermine Egypt's stability and its national unity, " said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in a statement today.

A year earlier, a suicide bomber killed nearly 30 worshipers at a church in Cairo located in the Saint Mark's Cathedral complex, the seat of the Coptic papacy. He had earlier said the bus was approaching the monastery.

Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country's 100 million population.

Church spokesperson Bouls Halim told The Associated Press news agency the death toll was likely to rise.

The group was heading to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, south of Cairo in Egypt's western desert, when Friday's attack occurred.

Armed security has been deployed outside a church South of Cairo on Saturday where funerals for victims of a militant attack are expected to be held. Christian activists say the church's alliance with el-Sissi has offered the ancient community a measure of protection but failed to end frequent acts of discrimination that boil over into violence against Christians, especially in rural Egypt.

There had, however, been a lull in attacks on Christians since December, when a gunman killed 11 people at a church and Christian-owned shop near Cairo.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert condemned the attack in a statement she posted to Twitter. Local church officials in Minya province put the death toll at 10, but the higher figure could not be confirmed.

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