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Egypt says Libya extremists targeted after attack on Christians

Gunmen attacked a bus carrying Christians on a visit to a monastery[Getty]

Date of publication: 26 May, 2017

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Egypt's president has said that Cairo has retaliated to a deadly attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians by striking militant training camps in neighbouring Libya.
Egypt's president has said that Cairo has retaliated to a deadly attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians by striking militant training camps in neighbouring Libya.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said late on Friday that extremist camps in Libya had been hit in air raids in a speech at the presidential palace after a meeting with security officials.

Earlier on Friday, masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying Christians on a visit to a monastery south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people including two children, in the latest attack on the religious minority.

"What you've seen today will not just pass by. The camps that these elements have come from and been trained in have been stuck very heavily today," Sisi said.

"Egypt will never hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere… inside Egypt, of course, or abroad."

He appealed directly to US President Donald Trump, who Sisi met with in the Saudi capital this week, to take the lead in fighting terror.

"Your Excellency, I trust that you will be capable of making fighting global terrorism your first priority," the army chief-turned-president said.

He added that IS extremists who have fled Syria and sought refuge in Libya have been attempting to bring down the Egyptian state by "sowing sedition between Christians and Muslims".

Minutes after the speech ended, state media announced that Egypt's air force launched six airstrikes against "terror camps in Libya" in retaliation for the attack on Coptic Christians.

It said extremist training camps in the eastern Libyan city of Derna had been hit.

In February 2015, Egypt carried out air raids against the IS in neighbouring Libya after a graphic video was released showing the beheading there of 21 Christians, almost all Copts.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack on Copts after the IS bombed three churches in December and April, killing dozens of Christians.

Condemnation has poured in from around the world in the wake of the attack, which came a day before the first day of Ramadan.

Trump decried the attack, calling on allies to band together to defeat terrorism.

"The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished," he said in a statement issued by his press office.

"Terrorists are engaged in a war against civilisation, and it is up to all who value life to confront and defeat this evil."

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