In a telegram Saturday, Pope Francis denounced Friday’s terror attack in Egypt that took the lives of four people.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the recent bomb attack near Giza,” the telegram reads. “In deploring this senseless and brutal act, he prays for the victims and their families, for the injured and for the emergency personnel who generously came to their aid.”
“Trusting that all will work to overcome violence with solidarity and peace, Pope Francis invokes divine blessings upon Egypt and its people,” it concludes. The telegram was addressed to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and was signed by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Egyptian authorities announced Saturday that police had killed 40 alleged terrorists in response to the roadside bomb that exploded Friday evening in the Al-Haram district near the Giza pyramids, killing three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide aboard a tour bus.
Egyptian authorities said they had received information “that a group of terrorists were planning to carry out a series of aggressive attacks targeting state institutions, particularly economic ones, as well as tourism, armed forces, police and Christian places of worship.”
Security forces carried out two separate raids in the Giza governorate, killing 30 alleged terrorists, while raids in North Sinai took out another ten, the ministry said in a statement.
Another statement from the public prosecutor’s office said that twelve other people had been injured in the attack, 11 other Vietnamese tourists and the Egyptian bus driver.
Although jihadists tied to the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for previous attacks, including against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, so far, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for Friday’s bombing.
Last month, militants linked to the Islamic State opened fire on three buses carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims, killing some 13 people and injuring another 19.
The Coptic-Catholic bishop of Asyut, Kyrillos William, claimed that terrorists in Egypt “want to destabilize the state,” reinforcing the belief that terrorism cannot be suppressed. They are saying that “we are still here and we are still active,” he said.
Coptic Christians are a religious minority in Egypt, making up about ten percent of the country’s population.
Last February, the Egyptian army initiated a large-scale operation called “Sinai 2018” to purge the Sinai Peninsula of jihadists, after an attack on a mosque killed over 300 people.
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