Pope Decries Egypt Attack on Christians

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has decried the attack on pilgrims in Egypt, saying they were killed "for being Christians."

Francis invited faithful in St. Peter's Square Sunday to pray with him for the seven slain as they were making their way to a remote Orthodox Coptic monastery.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population and have long complained about discrimination.

Francis voiced "sorrow for the terrorist attack which two days ago struck the Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt."

He said he was praying for the "pilgrims killed for the sole fact of being Christians," asking that those grieving be comforted.

In 2017, an attack on the same monastery killed 29 persons.

On Sunday, Egypt said security forces killed 19 militants in a shootout, including the gunmen suspected in Friday's attack.