Egyptian warplanes pounded extremist positions in neighbouring Libya hours after a terror attack on Coptic Christians killed at least 28 people. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said he is determined to stamp out the jihadists responsible for the recent attack whether they are inside or outside Egypt.
Heavily armed masked men mounted an attack on a bus, which was carrying Coptic Christians to a monastery, in central Egypt's Minya province on Friday, 26 May. The gunmen came in three pickup trucks before randomly spraying fire on the Copts and swiftly fled the crime scene after the onslaught. Local reports said there were eight to 10 gunmen dressed in military uniform.
Responding to the attack, al-Sisi announced on state television late on Friday that the Egyptian air force targeted extremist camps in an undisclosed location in Libya. "The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed. We are currently targeting the camps where the terrorists are trained," al-Sisi said. At least six air strikes are believed to have been carried out.
"Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror camps anywhere... if it plans attacking Egypt whether inside or outside the country," the Egyptian president added. State television also showed a short video clip of the air strikes following al-Sisi's address.
Al-Sisi also directly addressed US President Donald Trump seeking help in the fight against terrorism. He said: "Your Excellency, I trust your ability to wage war on terrorism as your first priority, with the cooperation of the whole international community, that should unite against terrorism. If Egypt falls, the whole world will be in chaos. We are waging a war on behalf of the world."
No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack on the Christians but Isis is known to have targeted the Copts, an ethno-religious minority in Egypt, in the past. Authorities said more than 25 people were wounded in the attack with children being among them. The death toll is expected to rise further as many of the injured victims are in a serious condition. Friday's attack was the latest in a series of deadly attacks targeting religious minority groups in Egypt.