Egypt kills 19 militants following attack on Coptic pilgrims

Egypt said yesterday it had killed 19 Islamist militants following the attack on Coptic Christians two days earlier.

At least seven people died and 19 more were injured in Friday's attack on three buses carrying Christians on a pilgrimage to St Samuel's Monastery in Minya province.

ReutersEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to crush the militants.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said they had tracked the suspects to a hideout in the desert, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The State Information Service called the attack on the Christians a 'desperate attempt' that only exposed the weakness of the militants.

The head of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, said of the attack: 'On the hope of the resurrection we bid farewell to them and know that God controls all events in all our lives.'

He said: 'We know that such events do not only affect us as Christians, but they affect the entire Egyptian society and we know that the most precious thing we have is our unity and our cohesion.

'We pray for the martyrs and for the injured, and for the safety and peace of our country. We pray for the perpetrators who are used to such incidents that cause grief, pain, and distress,' he concluded.

He thanked Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who has pledged to protect Christians and clamp down on the militants.

;I wish a speedy recovery to the injured and assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators,' Sisi said on his official Twitter account.

The attack was condemned by Al-Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority. In a statement released on Friday it said: 'The perpetrators of this cowardly act of terrorism are criminals stripped of humanity. They are far from the teachings of religions that call for coexistence; peace; renunciation of violence, hatred and terrorism, and criminalization of killing innocents.'

It said: 'Targeting Egyptians will only increase their determination to move forward and united in their war against terrorism.'