At least seven people died and 14 were wounded Friday when terrorists attacked a bus carrying Christian pilgrims to a monastery in southern Egypt, Coptic church sources say.
A Coptic religious leader told Arab media that terrorists sprayed the vehicle with automatic weapons, killing and wounding many, including women and children. The bus was driving to the Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in the town of Minya.
Amateur video showed victims lying dead or wounded in their seats inside a small white minivan, which appeared to have most of its windows blown out.
Another attack on a tourist bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to the Minya monastery took place on the same road in May 2017.
Analysts on Arab media pointed to both regional and local factors that may have motivated the terrorists. Analysts on Saudi-owned al Arabiya TV say the attack might be related to the capture of Egypt's top terrorist, Hussein Ashmawi, by Libyan military forces in the coastal town of Darna in October.
Terrorists in the 2017 attack reportedly infiltrated Minya using a desert road which leads to Libya. Libya's military spokesman, Col. Ahmed Al Mismary, has repeatedly accused Qatar and Sudan of supporting the terrorists. Both countries deny the charges.
Egyptian political sociologist Said Sadek said Friday's attack "probably has links to an Arab country's intelligence agency," but added that it would be difficult to determine exactly which country.
He said the attack on Coptic pilgrims and a separate attack by a female suicide bomber in the Tunisian capital of Tunis may be related. He argues that both attacks may be an attempt to divert media attention away from ongoing Western media coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
In addition, Friday's attack in Minya took place hours before Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is due to open a youth conference in the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.