Egyptian Warplanes Bomb Libya after Deadly Attacks on Christians

The Egyptian Armed forces have struck “terrorist training camps” in retaliation for an attack on Coptic Christians, said Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egypt’s state media said that six strikes hit the town of Derna in neighboring Libya.

On Friday, gunmen attacked a bus carrying worshipers in central Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others.

Al-Sisi stated that he would “not hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere.”

In a televised speech, Al-Sisi said that he promise to “protect our people from the evil”.

He also said that countries supporting terrorism should be punished, he said, as he appealed to US President Donald Trump for help.

Reuters cited military sources claiming that militants targeted in Libya had been involved in the attack on Egyptian Christians earlier on Friday.

Although no group immediately said it was behind the attack, Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months.

Since the overthrew of Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya has been controlled by a large number of armed militias that have emerged as a result of chaos. However, ISIS has also built a presence in Libya during the chaos.

It is worth to mention that Egypt has launched air strikes against IS in Libya before.

In 2015. The Egyptian military forces bombed several sites, also near Derna after militants released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

The Copts Christmas, who had been killed in the recent attack, had been travelling to the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, 135km (85 miles) south of Cairo, from Minya province when their bus came under fire.

It was in a small convoy that was stopped on a desert road near a police station on the border with Beni Suef provinces.

Eyewitnesses said that gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked the convoy with automatic weapons before fleeing in 4X4 vehicles.

Minya Province Bishop Makarios said many of the victims were shot at point blank range.

He also said that children had been on the bus and were among the dead, adding that a pick-up truck in the convoy carrying workmen at the monastery was also targeted.

Minutes after al-Sisi’s speech, the White House released a statement of support from Mr Trump.

“This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls,” he said.

He added,”America stands with al-Sisi and all the Egyptian people today, and always, as we fight to defeat this common enemy.”

Copts make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 92 million.

Last April, two suicide bombings have taken place at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta on 9 April left 46 people dead.

Those attacks prompted al-Sisi to declare a three-month nationwide state of emergency and promise to do whatever was necessary to confront jihadist militants, most of whom are based in northern Sinai.

However, many Copts complain that the Egyptian authorities are not doing enough to protect them, as reported by Orla Guerin, BBC’s News Correspondent in Cairo.

She added, “There is now a real sense of fear, and a feeling of being hunted.”