CAIRO:  Gunmen killed at least seven Christians in an attack on a bus near a Coptic monastery in Egypt on Friday, authorities said - the most serious assault on the minority in more than a year.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but militants linked to Daesh have regularly targeted Christians.

The attackers struck close to Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, 260 km (160 miles) up the River Nile from Cairo, the Archbishop of Minya, Anba Makarious, told Reuters.

The attack took place very close to the spot where gunmen killed 28 Christians in a similar assault in May 2017.

"Terrorists opened fire on a tour bus from Sohag province, heading back from the ... monastery," the archbishop said. He had earlier said the bus was approaching the monastery.

He said seven people were killed and 14 were wounded. State news agency MENA, citing a security source, put the number of injured at seven and said the bus was transporting Christians.

Local residents said the bus was part of a convoy.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said he mourned the victims as martyrs and vowed to push ahead with a campaign against militants.

"I assert our determination to fight dark terrorism and to pursue the perpetrators," he said on Twitter.

UAE vehemently condemns terrorist bus attack in Egypt

Abu Dhabi: The UAE condemned in the strongest possible terms the heinous terrorist attack on Friday targeting a bus carrying Copts in Upper Egypt's Minya Governorate, in which scores of people were killed and wounded.

''The UAE stands in solidarity with Egypt with the government and people of sisterly Egypt in confronting extremism and terrorism, which seek to undermine Egypt's stability and its national unity,'' said Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in a statement issued yesterday.

''While we extend our heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Egypt on the victims of this terrible terrorist attack, we confirm our confidence in the measures taken by the Egyptian government to fight terrorism and whoever espouses it. We also highly value the high sense of consciousness of the Egyptian people in regards to the objectives of these terrorist groups against Egypt's security and stability. We also appreciate the national unity of the Egyptian people which proves its solidity and strength against desperate attempts which will never succeed in their bad intentions and evil ends. May Allah protect Egypt and its people,'' Shaikh Abdullah added.