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Attack on buses of Coptic Christians in Egypt leaves 7 dead

Militants opened fire on three buses carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims Friday, killing at least seven people and injuring 19 others, Egyptian authorities said.

The vehicles -- two buses and a microbus -- were traveling near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya, about 130 miles south-southwest of the capital of Cairo at the time of the attack. One of the buses carried 28 members of the same family who were attending the church for a baptism.

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility.

Egypt's prosecutor-general, Nabil Sadek, ordered federal officials to investigate the attack. Security officials were searching for the gunmen responsible.

Sources told Ahram Online the buses were using alternative roads to the monastery after the main road was closed a year ago after a similar attack on pilgrims.

Nearly 30 people died in the attack on May 26, 2017, in which militants dressed as security officers ordered the bus to stop. They pulled the riders off the bus, separated the men from women and children and forced them to pledge allegiance to Islam. When they refused, the militants began shooting.

"I mourn with great sorrow the victims who fell today at the traitorous hands that seek to undermine the nation's fabric," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said of Friday'a attack. "We are determined to fight terrorism and catch the culprits."

Coptic Christians are a religious minority in Egypt, making up about 10 percent of the country's population.

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