Muslims shield Christians when Al-Shabaab attacks bus in Kenya

Their M.O. is a tried and terrifying one: Launch a raid, single out Christians, and then spray them with bullets.

But when Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a bus Monday, things didn’t go according to plan.

A group of Kenyan Muslims shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.

The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses said.

Al-Shabaab faction pledges allegiance to ISIS

Police escort breaks down

The bus was headed to the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia.

The journey is such a security risk that most buses travel with a police escort.

In this case, however, the police car broke down and the bus continued on its journey, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary, said.

A few hours later, the militants attacked.

Brutal acts

Al-Shabaab, a Somali group the United States has designated as a foreign terrorist organization, wants to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It has launched a series of attacks in Kenya, since Kenyan forces went into Somalia to battle the extremists in 2011.

Its goal: sow division in the border regions of Kenya and Somalia, where many of the people are ethnically Somali, analysts say.

Among Al-Shabaab’s most brutal acts was the raid on Garissa University College in April that left nearly 150 people dead. Witnesses described how gunmen asked students to recite verses from the Quran. If they couldn’t, they were killed.