A group of eight to 10 gunmen dressed in military uniforms attacked a bus and pickup truck carrying Coptic Christians to St. Samuel Monastery in Egypt's Minya province, about 140 miles south of Cairo, witnesses and Egyptian officials say. At least 20 people were killed in the attack, including children, The New York Times reports, citing Egyptian state media reports; The Associated Press puts the toll at 24 dead, 25 wounded. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but groups linked to the Islamic State said they had carried out other recent attacks on Egypt's Coptic minority, and ISIS' Egyptian branch pledged to step up attacks against Christians after Pope Francis visited Egypt last month.
"We are having a very hard time reaching the monastery because it is in the desert," Ibram Samir, a Christian official in Minya province, tells The New York Times. "It's very confusing. But we know that children were killed." Egypt's Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and they have long complained of harassment and discrimination, but attacks against the community have increased since Pope Tawadros II and other Coptic leaders backed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after he took control of the government from a democratically elected president from the Muslim Brotherhood.