Egypt says air strikes destroy militant camps after attack on Christians

Egypt says air strikes destroy militant camps after attack on Christians

The Daesh terrorist group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack that killed at least 29 Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, according to the group's Amaq news agency.

Egypt has launched a second round of air stirkes over Libya in retaliation for Friday's attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians near Cairo.

The interior ministry said 29 people were killed and scores injured in the attack.

The Egyptian military said the operation was ongoing and had been undertaken once it had been ascertained that the camps had produced the gunmen behind the attack on the Coptic Christians in Minya, southern Egypt, on Friday morning.

"Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbour or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt", Sisi said in a televised address.

In a sharply worded statement, Trump condemned terrorists who were "engaged in a war against civilization" and decried the "merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt".

In April, at least 45 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in two separate suicide bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria during Palm Sunday ceremonies.

"The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished", he said in a statement.

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The East Libyan air force's media office said the strikes targeted forces linked to Al-Qaeda at a number of sites, and would be followed by a ground operation.

"They told the men to disembark from the bus, took their identity cards and the gold they had on them, and asked them to the recite the Muslim profession of faith", said Maher Tawfik, whose niece survived. A young woman speaking from her hospital bed said the assailants ordered the women to surrender their jewelry and money.

The latest attack drew global condemnation.

Addressing US President Donald Trump, Sisi said: "You have said that your priority is to confront terrorism, and I trust you are capable of doing that".

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced the retaliatory action hours after the bus was riddled with machine-gun fire on a remote desert road by suspected Islamic State militants riding in three SUVs.

Egypt has seen a sharp rise in attacks against Christians, who represent 10 percent of the country's 91 million residents.

In past attacks, Egypt had usually identified local extremists as the perpetrators.

The attack prompted the government to declare a state-of-emergency.

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