Egypt’s interior ministry Sunday said its forces killed a dozen of Islamic State group (ISIS) fighters, including those suspected of connection to the slaughtering on Friday of a group of pilgrims of the Coptic religious minority.
The ministry in a statement said its forces killed in a shootout 19 ISIS members, west of the central province of Minya. It believes the dead also include militants who attacked on Friday in the Minya province a group of Coptic pilgrims travelling to a remote monastery.
Seven pilgrims were killed and 19 injured in the attack, the authorities said.
The Interior Ministry also said the militants fell in an ambush and started shooting after they realized they were being besieged by security forces.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the Friday attack, which is the second in the same location, in two years. May last year members of the terror group wearing masks mowed down 29 Coptic pilgrims on their way to visit the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery.
The Coptic Christians, making up 10 per cent of Egypt’s 100-million population, have become a soft target of the terror group because of their support for President Fattah al-Sisi since his rise to power in 2013 after toppling the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.
ISIS has staged several attacks against the minority group mainly in the Sinai restive province. But in recent years, bomb attacks in urban places including capital Cairo, Alexandria killed scores of security agents and several members the Christian group.