Egypt says police have killed 19 Islamist militants from a cell suspected of carrying out a deadly attack on Coptic Christians. Gunmen ambushed the pilgrims last week as they traveled home from a remote monastery.
Egyptian security forces have killed 19 suspected jihadists linked to a deadly attack on buses carrying Coptic Christians, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.
The ministry's statement said the militants were tracked to a hideout in the mountainous desert west of the central province of Minya before police killed them in a shootout.
The suspects were part of a group believed to have shot dead seven pilgrims near the desert cemetery of Saint Samuel in Minya on Friday, the ministry added.
It published photographs purportedly showing the bodies of the slain gunmen, as well as rifles, shotguns and other weapons seized at the hideout.
It also released images of the black banner of the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, which claimed responsibility for Friday's attack. The ministry did not say when the gun battle took place.
Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 percent of Egypt's 100 million population, have repeatedly come under attack from militants affiliated with IS.
In May 2017, masked gunmen ordered Christians traveling to the Saint Samuel monastery to get off their buses and recant their faith. Some 28 people were killed.
Twin church bombings in April 2017 left more than 40 people dead, and in December last year a gunman killed nine people in a church in southern Cairo. All three attacks were claimed by IS.
nm/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)