Christians in Egypt are getting used to “this idea that we could be a martyr at any moment”, a spokesman for the nation’s Catholic bishops has said.

Fr Rafic Greiche also lamented the number of child­ren killed in an attack on a bus carrying Coptic Orthodox Christians to St Samuel Monastery in southern Egypt.

At least 26 people, many of them children, were killed when masked assailants attacked the bus. Dozens of others were injured.

Tarek Attia, interior ministry official, told Sky News Arabia that it was “too early to say” who was behind the attack.

He said three cars carrying masked gunmen had attacked the bus on Friday morning in the southern governorate of Minya, a traditional stronghold of Egypt’s Christians.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, sent a message to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, expressing Pope Francis’s prayers and solidarity after the “barbaric attack”.

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