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Priest says Egypt's Christians feel they could be martyrs at any time


  • The mother of one of the victims of an attack on a group of Coptic Christians that took place May 26 attends a funeral at the Sacred Family Church in Minya, Egypt, that same day. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)
  • This bus carrying Coptic Christians to a monastery was attacked May 26 in Minya, Egypt. The Health Ministry reports at least 26 fatalities, with at least 25 more wounded. (CNS photo/Mohamed And El Ghany, Reuters)
  • A bus carrying Coptic Christians in southern Egypt is seen after gunmen attacked it May 26. The Health Ministry reports at least 26 fatalities, with at least 25 more wounded. (CNS photo/Reuters TV)

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CAIRO (CNS) -- Christians in Egypt "are getting to this idea that we could be a martyr at any moment," the spokesman for the nation's Catholic bishops told Catholic News Service.

The spokesman, Father Rafic Greiche, also lamented the number of children killed in an attack on a bus carrying Coptic Orthodox Christians to St. Samuel Monastery in southern Egypt May 26.

At least 26 people, many of them children, were killed when masked assailants attacked the bus. Dozens of others were injured.

"It is too early to say who is behind it, but certainly terrorists, and the security forces are now scanning the area" to find the culprits, Tarek Attia, Interior Ministry official, told Sky News Arabia, an Arabic-language television station, May 26.

He said three cars carrying the masked gunmen had attacked the bus at roughly 10:30 a.m. in the southern governorate of Minya, a traditional stronghold of Egypt's Christian community, which accounts for a tiny percent of the country's mostly Sunni Muslim population.

At the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a message to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, expressing Pope Francis' prayers and solidarity after the "barbaric attack."

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