Pope Francis during the Angelus in St Peter's Square (Photo: AFP)
Roman Catholic Pope Francis prayed for the victims killed in a Friday terrorist attack in Upper Egypt's Minya, Vatican News reported on Sunday.
The pope decried the attack, which killed seven Copts and injured at least 12 others, saying that they were killed "for the mere fact of being Christians."
Following the Angelus prayer to the faithful in Saint Peter's Square, he recited the Hail Mary and asked Mary Most Holy to console the families and the entire community.
On Friday, gunmen attacked a group of Christians returning home by bus from the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Upper Egypt's Minya.
The terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the first major attack on Christians – who make up 10 to 15 percent of Egypt's 104 million people – since the May 2017 attack on pilgrims travelling to the same Minya monastery.
Following the Friday attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi vowed to continue the war against “dark terrorism.”
On Sunday, Egyptian police said that 19 gunmen involved in the Friday attack were killed in a shootout with security forces.