convoy of three bus and two smaller buses carrying mostly Coptic children and women on their way to Anba Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Minya, Upper Egypt, has been attacked by 10 masked gunmen, killing 39 29 and injuring 27 others. According to Maghagha Bishopric, the terrorists took all the jewelery and money from the victims before they fled. According to survivors, the militants were dressed in military clothes but the Ministry of Interior said they could not verify this. . In addition, a truck carrying some workers from Minya who work as laborers in the monastery, came upon the convoy and the attack, and the terrorists opened fire on them as well.
Journalist Nader Shukri says the terrorists threw flyers in the buses after killing the Copts that basically said ‘congratulated people on the beginning of Ramadan and fasting’!! It also had an explanation of the benefits of fasting. ?! صوما مقبولا وذنبا مغفورا وكل سنة وانتم طيبين [Updates to follow as more news becomes available].
Several embassies, among them the US embassy in Cairo, had warned Egypt of an imminent attack the day before.
Update May 29:
Unconfirmed rumors thatMinya security director was dismissed from his position because of the the attack on the Copts. Police apparently refused to approach the scene of the attack for a while according to eye witnesses. However it should be noted that while he was dismissed from Minya, he was reassigned to the post of Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Security Forces – which in essence is a promotion!
- The governor of Minya visited Bishop Macarius to offer his condolences.
- The hospital in Al Adwa issued death certificates for the Copts who died in the attack. On them the reason for death was “shock from a traffic accident” and/or “heart attack”. The names of their villages of origin was also changed which would mean the families would not be able to receive any benefits and/or have a hard time proving their case. Bishop Aghathon refused to receive the certificates, which prompted the Ministry of Health to transfer those who committed the crime to investigate Al-Adwa Hospital. The certificates were amended to state that death was the result of firing a shotgun.
- Families of victims said the doctors at the morgue mistreated them and one female doctor spit on the bodies in front of them.
- Minya health department issued an apology for the false certificates and stated that it was an ‘unintentional error’.
- One of the victims of the massacre told reporters that police were afraid to show up for fear of confronting the terrorists. She also said their families arrived from Al Fashn in Beni Sweif as soon as they heard and arrived there before the police.
الشرطة تلكأت حتي لا تواجه الإرهابيين وأهلنا حضروا من الفشن قبل الشرطة اللي في مغاغه
- Newspapers announced that Sisi was holding a meeting to follow the developments of the attack. He later spoke on TV with the usual messages except this time he called on the American president by name and asked for help and cooperation in fighting terrorism! A few hours later, Egypt’s state television announced that Egypt’s air force conducted six strikes on six camps inside Libya [
no one knows if those are related to the attack or not]. In his speech, Sisi hinted that they were related. The army spokesperson confirmed that it was in response to the Minya attack.
- Egypt announced a day of mourning for the victims.
- The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a tepid statement that said such incidents need to stop because they harm Egypt’s image abroad. [statement in Arabic below]
- The governor of Minya said on TV that the terrorists asked the Copts on board to convert but they refused and were shot. [Video of the governor below]
- Police disperse a protest by the families of the victims who blocked the railroads in Minya. Families also chanted against the Minister of Interior asking him to resign.
- Nazlet Hanna – a small village in Beni Souif, had 12 victims on board the buses.
- Egyptian media immediately began accusing Qatar, Turkey, Israel etc. for the incident. Not self-reflection.
- Egypt’s Mufti’s office issues strong condemnation of attack against Christian Egyptians in Minya. Invokes the Prophet in his condemnation.
- Al Dostoor party issued a statement condemning the attacks.
- UN Security Council stands in a moment of silence for the Coptic victims and issues a statement condemning the attack.
- US Embassy in Egypt expressed support for Egypt
First video of the incident:
Journalist Nader Shukri narrates what happened:
- Video of the funerals
- Eyewitness says they forced them to convert and then still shot them.
- Governor of Minya to Egyptian TV
- Secretary of the Maghagha bishophric describes the massacre
- Children describe what happened
- The bus driver narrates the massacre.
- Brothers and family of Samuel Ghattas speak about the massacre.
- Video of Anba Athanasius narrating the story of baby Maruska.
Images of the wounded and the carnage:
The deceased [more pics to come as they become available]:
Coffins arrive at the Maghagha Bishophric: [images from Mada Masr by Mo’men Samir]
International Coverage of the events:
- Gunmen Attack Coptic Christian Convoy in Egypt, Killing at Least 26. NYT
- BBC Arabic – BBC English coverage
- Militants attack Christians in Egypt, killing at least 28. AFP
- Militants attack Christians in Egypt . ABC
From social media in support of the Copts:
Parliamentarian Haytham Al Hariri sent a letter to the Speaker of the House:
Church’s statement in Arabic:
أصدرت الكنيسة القبطية الأرثوذكسية بيانًا بخصوص الاعتداء الإرهابي على أقباط مغاغة.
وجاء نص البيان كالتالي: تلقينا بكل الألم والحزن أنباء ذلك الاعتداء الآثم الذي تعرَّض له مصريون أقباط في أثناء ذهابهم، صباح اليوم الجمعة 26/ 5/ 2017 لنوال بركة أحد الأديرة وأسفر عن عدد من الشهداء والجرحى في منطقة مغاغة في صعيد مصر.
وإذ نواسي كل هذه الأسر المجروحة ونتألم مع كل الوطن لهذا العنف والشر، الذي يستهدف قلب مصر ووحدتنا الوطنية التي هي أثمن ما نملكه، ونحفظه ونحميه.
وإذ نقدر سرعة استجابة المسئولين، والتعامل مع الحادث، فإننا نامل اتخاذ الإجراءات اللازمة نحو تفادي خطر هذه الحوادث التي تشوه صورة مصر، وتتسبب في آلام العديد من المصريين.
حفظ الله لمصر شعبها وأرضها وسلامها”