CAIRO - Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced on Sunday the killing of 19 militants involved in a terrorist attack that left at least seven Copts dead in Upper Egypt’s province of Minya on Friday. In a statement, the ministry said the terrorists were killed in a fire exchange with security forces in a mountainous area in Minya’s western desert. The operation fell within the framework pursuing terrorists carrying out antagonistic operations in the country, according to the statement. On Friday, a bus carrying a number of Copts was attacked near the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya, leaving seven dead. Last year, almost in the same place, at least 28 Copts were killed in a similar attack. The country has been suffering a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers following the military removal of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Terror attacks had been concentrated in restive North Sinai before spreading to several provinces including the capital Cairo and starting to target the Coptic minority via church bombings.

Most of the attacks were claimed by the Wilayat Sinai, a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State regional terrorist group.