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Pope says Egyptian Copts killed by IS were ‘martyrs’

VATICAN CITY — For the second day in a row, Pope Francis expresses his solidarity with Egypt’s Coptic Christians following an attack on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to a remote desert monastery.

Francis leads thousands of people in prayer Sunday for the victims, who Francis says were killed in “another act of ferocious violence” after having refused to renounce their Christian faith.

Speaking from his studio window over St. Peter’s Square, Francis says: “May the Lord welcome these courageous witnesses, these martyrs, in his peace and convert the hearts of the violent ones.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, which killed 29 people.

On Saturday during a visit to Genoa, Francis prayed for the victims and lamented that there were more martyrs today than in early Christian times.

A man covers the blood stains of victims on the road leads to St. Samuel, the Confessor monastery in Maghagha, about 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A man covers the blood stains of victims on the road that leads to St. Samuel, the Confessor monastery in Maghagha, about 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

— AP

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