Upper Egypt has been slightly far from the militancy Egypt has been facing ever since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, with the exception of Minya, which was targeted twice in attacks against Coptic Christians.
Last month the Military Court sentenced 13 people to death on charges of bombing churches. The court has dubbed a militant cell as ‘the church bombing cell’. The Qena Security Directorate published posters of what it named as the founder and leader of the cell, Amr Saad, an alleged former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has now pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group.
Among the numerous attacks which targeted Coptic civilians, two of them were in Minya, however the rest extended to Tanta, Cairo, and Alexandria.
Saad is said to have participated in the Tanta and Alexandria bombings which claimed the lives of dozens of Copts. He is also believed to be number two of the most wanted militants after former officer Hisham Ashmawi.
One of several incident which took place in Upper Egypt was in June 2015, when two militants died and five Egyptians were injured in a suicide attack in Al-Karnak temple in Luxor. One of the militants died as a result of explosive device detonating whilst in his possession, an interior ministry statement read, without mentioning details on the precise cause of death of the second fatality. A third militant was injured during a gunfire exchange between security forces and the militants. The injuries included Egyptian civilians and security personnel.
In November 2017, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed to restore stability by eradicating terrorism, placing the military and police in charge of completing the task within a period of three months. This had followed a massive first-of-its-kind terrorist attack against a mosque in the city of Al-Arish, which killed at least 305 citizens.