US President Donald Trump has expressed his sadness and support for Egypt and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following the terrorist attack on Christians in Minya Friday that saw 28 Copts killed by armed gunmen.
"America stands with President El-Sisi and all the Egyptian people today, and always, as we fight to defeat this common enemy," an official statement said.
"This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls," the statement reads, adding that this attack also "steels our resolve" to bring nations together for the righteous purpose of crushing the evil organisations of terror.
On a televised speech Friday, following the terrorist attack, El-Sisi directly addressed Trump, saying: “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.”
El-Sisi added that, “All countries that support terrorism should be punished, without any courtesy or conciliation."
Trump stressed that America also makes it clear to its friends, allies and partners that the "treasured and historic Christian communities of the Middle East must be defended and protected," and that the "bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished."
In his speech, El-Sisi said that a strike was being launched targeting a camp that had been a source of terrorists who had carried out attacks in Egypt, without specifying a location.
The Egyptian armed forces released a short video Friday and which was shown on state television after El-Sisi's speech. The voiceover said that upon the directions of the president, the airforce had carried out a strike against terrorist gatherings in Libya "after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday."
Sisi warned, "Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbour or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt," adding that Friday's attack will not pass easily.
Twenty-eight Christians were killed and 23 injured in the armed attack on buses carrying them to St Samuel’s Monastery in Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate Friday morning.
No group has yet claimed the Minya attack, which is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt’s Christians.
On 9 April, suicide bombers targeted St George's Church in Tanta and St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing and injuring dozens in the deadliest attacks against civilians in the country's recent history. A total of 29 people died in the Tanta explosion and 18 in Alexandria.
Cairo imposed a nationwide three-month state of emergency after the April bombings, with the option to extend for another three months dependent on a parliament vote.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.