Gunmen killed at least nine people including three police in an attack on a Coptic Christian church south of Cairo on Friday, medical and security sources said, Reuters reports.
The two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said.
One attacker was shot dead by security forces, the sources and the state-run news agency MENA reported. State television said the second had been captured.
Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt’s large Christian minority in recent years, including two bomb attacks on Palm Sunday in April and a blast at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral last December that killed 28 people.
The Health Ministry said that nine people had been killed on Friday in addition to the gunman, and five wounded, including two women in serious condition.
Local media said the dead attacker had been wearing an explosive belt, and that two other bombs had been defused near the church.
14:12 (GMT+4) An attack on a church south of Cairo killed at least three people on Friday and an attacker was shot dead by security forces, security sources said, Reuters reports.
The incident took place in the Helwan district on the capital’s southern outskirts and involved more than one attacker, according to the state-run news agency MENA.
Local media cited the Interior Ministry as saying two policemen had been killed in the attack on the Mar Mina church.
It was not clear if the three reported dead included the attacker, or how many attackers were involved.
Cairo’s security chief headed for the scene, local media reported. Sirens were heard in central Cairo as the incident was first reported.
14:12 (GMT+4) Egyptian police forces killed a militant tried to storm a church in Helwan city, southern Cairo on Friday, eye witnesses told Egypt Today.
The militant opened fire at the security forces outside the Church of Great Martyr Mina in al-Maasara district in Helwan city and injured a policeman, but the guarding police thwarted his attack and shot him down.
The attack attempt was thwarted amid high security measures taken by the Ministry of Interior nationwide ahead of Christmas celebrations in Egypt.