0749 GMT September 22, 2019
The assailants in three pick-up trucks attacked the bus as it carried visitors to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province, more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Cairo, before fleeing, the Interior Ministry said, AFP reported.
It was the latest attack on Copts after the Daesh terror group bombed three churches in December and April, killing dozens of Christians. The Daesh terror group subscribes to Wahhabism, propagated and promoted by Saudi Arabia worldwide.
Pictures of the bus aired by state television showed the vehicle riddled with machine-gun fire and its windows shot out.
State television quoted a health ministry official as saying a "large number" of the victims were children.
"They used automatic weapons," Minya governor Essam al-Bedawi told state television.
Bedawi said police were fanning out along the road where the attack took place and had set up checkpoints.
Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said 26 people were killed and another 25 wounded.
The latest attack came after terrorists had threatened more strikes against the Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 90-million population.
In a statement on its spokesman's Facebook page, the Coptic Church called for "measures to be taken to prevent the dangers of those incidents that tarnish Egypt's image".
Suicide bombers with the terror group struck a Cairo church on December 11, next to the seat of the Coptic pope, killing 29 people.
On April 11, bombers attacked two churches north of Cairo on Palm Sunday, killing 45 people, in the deadliest strike in living memory against the Copts.
The bombings prompted President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.
Friday's shooting came after a historic visit to Egypt by Roman Catholic Pope Francis to show solidarity with the country's Christians.
In his late April trip, Francis visited one of the bombed Coptic churches and condemned violence carried out in the name of God.
Al-Azhar, Egypt's top religious authority, condemned Friday's shooting which took place on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"The Minya incident is unacceptable to Muslims and Christians and it targets Egypt's stability," Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb said in a statement.