U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after terrorists attacked a group of Coptic Christians in southern Egypt on Friday as they were traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor:

“I extend my sincerest condolences to the friends and families of the victims of today’s brutal terrorist attack in Egypt. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them and with New Jersey’s vibrant and thriving Coptic community who are forced to once again mourn their brethren.

“There are no excuses for these gruesome assaults on Egypt’s Christian minority. I condemn this horrific violence in the strongest terms, and so, too, should the rest of the world. The government of President al-Sisi has an obligation to take serious and consequential measures that actually ensure the safety of the Coptic community and all Egyptians. This latest tragedy must serve as a final wake-up call to remedy the ongoing legal and social disparities faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt and to protect the community from such horrendous violence and terrorism.

“This terrorism against Coptic Christians must be stopped, and the Egyptian government must use every available resource to protect the right of Coptic Christians, and all minorities, to freely practice their religion and to live and work in safety. It is also imperative that the United States continue to ensure that Egypt has the resources its needs to enhance its security and meet these threats."