The Islamic State jihadist group on Saturday claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus in central Egypt that killed dozens of Christians, its propaganda arm said.
“A security detachment from the Islamic State carried out an attack yesterday in Minya, targeting a bus carrying Copts and taking the lives of 32 of them,” Amaq reported.
Earlier on Saturday, Egyptian authorities increased the official death toll from the attack in Minya province to 29.
The Egyptian Cabinet said in a news release that 13 victims of Friday’s attack remained hospitalized in Cairo and the southern province of Minya where the attack took place. Authorities had previously said 28 were killed.
Hours after Friday’s attack, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced that Egypt had launched airstrikes against militant training bases in Libya.
Senior Egyptian officials said fighter jets targeted bases in eastern Libya of the Shura Council, an Islamist militia known to be linked to al-Qaida, not the Islamic State group. There was no immediate word on damage or casualties.
El-Sissi told Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic church in Egypt, in a phone call on Friday that the state would not rest easy until the perpetrators of the attack were punished.
El-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency following the targeting of two churches north of Cairo on Palm Sunday. In December, a suicide bomber targeted a Cairo church. The three attacks, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, left at least 75 people dead.
Egypt’s government has been struggling for the last three years to deter militants led by an Islamic State group affiliate and centered in the Sinai peninsula.
After a visit to Egypt last month by Pope Francis, IS vowed to escalate attacks against Christians and urged Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and Western embassies.