19 Egyptian militants linked to attack on Christians killed in security police operation
Egyptian security forces killed 19 militants from a cell believed to be responsible for an attack on Coptic Christians in Minya province in central Egypt in which seven people died, the interior ministry said on Sunday.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior of Egypt on Sunday, those killed in an intense exchange of fire with police forces were part of a cell that claimed the lives of seven Coptic pilgrims in Friday's attack in Minya province.
It did not say when the gun battle took place, nor did it mention any casualties among security forces.
The Daesh terrorist group (also known as ISIS) has already claimed responsibility for Friday’s brutal attack in Minya province where gunmen targeted two buses near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, 260 km (160 miles) south of Cairo. The dead included six members of the same family.
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The 19 suspected terrorists were found “as part of a pursuit of terrorist elements involved in carrying out hostile operations in the country, including the last armed attack which targeted citizens returning from the Saint Samuel monastery”, the ministry further said.
It added that raid on terrorists had been undertaken in the mountainous western desert of Minya province in a bid to track down the “fugitive terrorist elements.”
The terror group also killed at least 45 people in twin church bombings in April 2017, and a Daesh gunman also killed nine people in an attack on a church in south Cairo suburb last December.
The ministry said the suspects were on the run from security forces when national security intelligence identified their location.
Security forces recovered weapons including automatic and semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and ammunition, the ministry said.
Furthermore, over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in July 2013 through a military coup led by incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.