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Egyptian Christians mourn their dead

Egyptian Christians

Egyptian Coptic Christians gathered in large numbers in South of Cairo to attend the funeral service of 6 of the 7 Christian pilgrims killed in an ambush on Friday. All but one of those belonged to the same family. According to the Coptic Orthodox Church 19 were wounded in the attack. 

The local Islamic State group affiliate claimed responsibility for it as a revenge for the imprisonment of "our chaste sisters". It also claimed that 13 Christians were killed and 18 more were wounded but the numbers are yet to be verified. 

This incident will adversely affect the World Youth Forum which opens on Saturday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik. Thousands of local and foreign youth are expected to discuss  a wide range of topics, with the Egyptian President taking centre stage. 

The IS has also claimed responsibility for the series of deadly attacks on Christians dating back from December 2016. This was in retaliation for the Christians'support of el-Sissi who ousted the Islamist President. 

Since taking office in 2014, el - Sissi has made security  his top priority. On his Twitter account, he accused that the Friday attack was designed to harm the "nation's solid fabric" and pledged to fight against terrorism. 

Pope Tawadros ll, a close ally of the President said that the latest attack will only make the Christians stronger. 

A similar attack in May 2017 in Minya left nearly 30 people dead. Atleast 100 were killed in previous assaults on Christian worshippers in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta. 

This reflects the inadequacy of the security measures taken by the government. 

Since 1970, the Muslims have grown religiously conservative leading to the vulnerability of minority Christians. 

The Interior Ministry has  assured that the police were in pursuit of the militants. 

The Christian activists say that the measure of protection offered by el-Sissi has not been able to put down the increasing acts of violence and discrimination against Christians especially in the rural areas. 

Minya, with the highest population of Christians, has been experiencing the most acts of violence on churches, Christian homes and businesses. The Christians accuse the police of trying to resolve disputes through tribal - like councils and not according to rule of law.

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