ISIS have claimed responsibility for a gunman’s deadly attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt
The gunman opened fire on at least 50 Coptic Christians travelling to the monastery of St Samuel near Minya, 150 miles from Cairo on Friday.
At least 28 Christians were killed and a further 24 were wounded, according to officials.
But in an act of retaliation, Egyptian fighter jets carried out strikes on Friday directed at camps in Libya which Cairo says have been training militants who killed dozens of Christians earlier in the day.
- Manchester victim to regain consciousness not knowing friend died
- Horror ISIS photos which show we could be fighting Daesh for decades
Sickening images reveal the ISIS children Mon, May 22, 2017
These pictures show how we could be fighting Daesh for decades as ISIS supporting parents are brainwashing their children to attack westerners.
Play slideshow NC 1 of 5
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he had ordered strikes against what he called terrorist camps, declaring in a televised address that states that sponsored terrorism would be punished.
Egyptian military sources said six strikes took place near Derna in eastern Libya at around sundown, hours after masked gunmen attacked the group of Coptic Christians.
Mr Sisi said: “The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed. We are currently targeting the camps where the terrorists are trained.”
An ambulance is stationed outside the monastery of St Samuel after at least 29 people were shot dead
According to eyewitnesses, masked men opened fire after stopping the Christians, who were in a bus and other vehicles on a desert road. Local TV channels showed a bus apparently raked by gunfire and smeared with blood.
Clothes and shoes could be seen lying in and around the bus, while the bodies of some of the victims lay in the sand nearby, covered with black sheets.
Eyewitnesses said three vehicles were attacked. First to be hit was a vehicle taking children to the monastery as part of a church-organised trip, and another vehicle taking families there.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Blood stains the outside of a bus attacked by gunmen in Minya, Egypt
The gunmen boarded the vehicles and shot all the men and took all the women's gold jewellery. They then shot women and children in the legs.
When one of the gunmen's vehicles got a flat tire they stopped a truck carrying Christian workers, shot them, and took the truck.
One of the gunmen recorded the attack on the Copts with a video camera, eyewitnesses said.
The attack took place on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority.
Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.
The Copts were attacked on the way to a monastery in Minya province
Police armed with assault rifles formed a security perimeter around the attack site while officials from the public prosecutor's office gathered evidence. Heavily armed special forces arrived later wearing face masks and body armour.
The injured were taken to local hospitals and some were being transported to Cairo. The Health Ministry said that among those injured were two children aged two.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made a point of improving relations with Cairo, said his country stood with Sisi and the Egyptian people.
Mr Trump said: "This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls."
- Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas
- Defence expert blasts Corbyn for blaming foreign policy for terrorism
- Fallon: I don't accept link between foreign policy and terrorism
The head of the Coptic Christian church, Pope Tawadros, who spoke with Mr Sisi after the attack, said it was "not directed at the Copts, but at Egypt and the heart of the Egyptians".
Pope Francis, who visited Cairo a month ago, described the attack as a "senseless act of hatred".
Coptic Christians, whose church dates back nearly 2,000 years, make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.
They say they have long suffered from persecution, but in recent months the frequency of deadly attacks against them has increased. About 70 have been killed since December in bombings claimed by Islamic State at churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta.