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International – Egypt

July 2017

Egyptian Christians have been slaughtered by Islamists as they travelled to a monastery in May 2017, at the start of the Islamic fast of Ramadan. The ambush killed 29 and injured 22.

Men were taken off the buses, their identity cards checked to see they were Christians and then told to recite the Islamic shahada, indicating that they were converting to Islam. All the murdered men had refused to renounce their Christian faith in this way. Among the bodies were left Islamist leaflets, according to Barnabas Fund.

The ambush was part of a series of recent IS attacks that have specifically targeted churches and monasteries in Egypt. On 18 April, jihadists opened fire at St Catherine’s monastery in southern Sinai, killing a policeman, but were driven off before they could mount a full attack.

On 9 April (Palm Sunday), suicide bombers attacked St George’s Church in Tanta, in the Delta region, and St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, shortly after the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church had finished leading the worship service. Forty-six Christians were killed in these two attacks.