On May 26th, gunmen attacked Egyptian Christians that were traveling to an ancient monastery, St. Samuel Monastery in Minya, a province about 160 miles south of Cairo along the Nile River. Here is everything you need to know about the attack and the most recent updates regarding it.
The Deadly Egypt Attack – 3 Important Things To Know
The Minya Province has one of the largest percentages of Christians in Egypt. And religious tensions have been rising there for quite some time leading up to the attacks that took place in December 2016 with the blast at Cairo that killed at least 25 and then the attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt, that took place Palm Sunday, April 9th, 2017 that killed at least 44 people and injured more than 100 people. The most recent attack that took place on May 26th, was on the eve of Ramadan, a Muslim holiday, Ramadan is a time of fasting and when Muslims attempt to please God through good works and spiritual discipline.
Open Doors USA, a nonprofit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries, has this to report on the attack:
Gunmen opened fire May 26th, on vehicles carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt. At least 28 were killed in the deadly attack and 23 were wounded. The dead included children, older adults and laborers.
Police are now trying to gather evidence to convict the killers. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the murders.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Coptic cathedral back in December, as well as the attack on Palm Sunday.
In light of this tragic attack, here are the top 3 things you need to know:
- Tensions between Christians and Muslims are said to be the highest in Minya, which is where this attack occurred. The president declared a state of emergency in Egypt following the Palm Sunday attack, and Christians are living in fear and uncertainty. Believers face violence and must occasionally keep their faith a secret due to discrimination.
- This is also the beginning of Ramadan, a holy month celebrated by Muslims. Persecution of Christians often increases during this time. You can download our Ramadan Prayer Calendar HERE.
- Believers are facing their greatest time of need right now. It is becoming increasingly risky to be a Christian in Egypt, in the wake of so many deadly attacks. You can partner with Open Doors USA to strengthen believers in Egypt by giving to Christian Community Restoration.
After the attack, more information surfaced. The Islamic State militants were dressed in military fatigues and waved down the convoy of two buses carrying worshipers and a truck carrying laborers, telling them to stop. Claiming to be security officers, the gunmen forced the passengers off the bus and split up the men from the women and children. They instructed them to hand over their cell phones and then commanded the men to recite the shahadah, the Islamic declaration of faith. When the men refused, the gunmen opened fire, killing at least 28, several with a single shot to the head, many of which were children.
Hours after the attack, the Egyptian President delivered a speech warning that the attack on Christians “will not go unanswered”. The Egyptian military sent fighter jets to carry out airstrikes on several militant camps in eastern Libya, where they believe the assailants of the Minya attack were trained.
During these tragic times, we as Christians need to unite in prayer and intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted in Egypt. Especially since ISIS has vowed to increase the attacks on Christians in Egypt. Join us in prayer as we pray for God to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ and for justice to be brought swiftly to those who attacked and murders these Christians.