By Religion News Service –
The Coptic bishop of this city south of Cairo, Anba Makarios, spent the weekend trying to comfort mourners after two buses carrying Coptic Christians were ambushed Friday (Nov. 2) as they left a monastery here, killing seven of the pilgrims and wounding 19. The Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the attack.
But during Makarios’ appearance at Prince Tadros Church, as the bishop thanked provincial officials for issuing the necessary permits to conduct public funerals, the congregation erupted in anger.
“Don’t thank them,” shouted the mourners as elderly women leaned in grief over the coffins of the victims.
“With our souls and our blood, we will protect the cross,” they chanted as young men started fist-punching the air.
The attack in the desert this weekend was the second assault at the same location by the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State. A May 2017 ambush on the road to the monastery left 28 people dead. Now, Coptic Christians say they have had enough of promises.
“Government ministers talk about our common citizenship, a concept that is impossible to see when we are constantly subjected to violence,” said Kamel Hanna, a building contractor from Sohag. Hanna had come to stand vigil at Sheikh Zayed hospital in Cairo’s suburbs, where his niece and nephew, along with 11 others injured in the attack, were being treated. “This violence is a tax we pay just for being Christians.”