9 dead after gunmen attack Egypt church in terror attack

Marie Harrington
December 30, 2017

A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Friday outside a church in a Cairo suburb and at a nearby store, sparking a shootout that killed at least nine people, including eight Coptic Christians, authorities said.

Earlier reports by security sources and state media said at least two attackers were involved, and that one was shot dead and another fled the scene.

Egypt has witnessed several terrorist attacks in recent years, including the bombing of two churches north of the country on Palm Sunday; On April 9, two explosions targeted churches in Tanta, north of Cairo, and Alexandria during Palm Sunday services, leaving at least 44 dead and over 70 injured.

"The security forces frustrated an attack on church in Mar Mina Church the Helwan district", said the interior ministry statement.

Medical and security sources said six of the dead were church-goers and three were police.

Security forces reportedly shot and killed one of the attackers who was carrying an undetonated explosive belt after an exchange of fire and another was arrested. Eight Coptic Christians were among those killed.

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State television reported that a second assailant who escaped had been arrested.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack.

The Times notes another incident was reported on Friday involving a gun attack in Helwan at an appliance shop owned by a Copt.

Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region.

The local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack late Friday, saying it was carried out by a "security detail" and that one of its men was "martyred" in the strike. "There are two issues one is the political crisis in Egypt which unfolded after 2013". Attacks pick up in the aftermath of Egypt's Arab Spring uprising that begins weeks later, then even more so after the army overthrows an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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