At least 26 Coptic Christians have reportedly been killed by gunmen in Egypt.
The Christians were travelling by bus to a monastery when they were attacked. Many of those killed were children, according to the New York Times.
Health officials said that the attack happened on Friday while the bus was travelling on the road to the St Samuel Monastery in the Minya governorate, about 220 kilometres, or about 140 miles, south of the Egyptian capital.
The health ministry has said there were between 8 and 10 attackers dressed in military uniforms, according to witnesses.
Khaled Mogahed, the health ministry spokesman, said that the death toll had reached 26 but feared it could rise further. According to Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack.
Though no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, it had all the hallmarks of Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate.
Egypt has seen a wave of attacks on its Christians, including twin suicide bombings in April and another attack in December on a Cairo church that left over 75 people dead and scores wounded. The Islamic State group in Egypt claimed responsibility for them and vowed more attacks.
Last month Pope Francis visited Egypt in part to show his support for the Christians of this Muslim majority Arab nation who have been increasingly targeted by Islamic militants.
Picture: St Samuel Monastery