Home Breaking News Cairo Attacks: Nine Killed Outside Coptic Church and Store

Cairo Attacks: Nine Killed Outside Coptic Church and Store

Nine people have been killed in Egypt during two attacks on Coptic Christians in Helwan district, south of Cairo, the interior ministry has said.

According to the interior ministry statement, 6 civilians and a policeman died when a gunman tried to storm a church but was intercepted and arrested.

It said the gunman had previously attacked a Coptic-owned shop in the same area, killing two brothers.

The interior ministry revised an earlier account given by the health ministry.

The initial report said 12 were dead, and suggested there were two attackers. It said one had been killed, and the other fled but was later captured.

More than 100 Christians have been killed in Egypt in 2017, with most attacks claimed by the local branch of ISIS.

Security forces have reinforced checkpoints in place around Cairo in response to the attacks.

Earlier this week, they announced plans to protect festivities around the New Year and, on January 7, Coptic Christmas. They include the deployment of rapid-reaction forces, combat troops and jamming equipment.

Image source Reuters

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According to the interior ministry statement, the first attack on December 29 took place at a household appliances shop. Then the attacker headed to the Saint Mina Coptic church, where he attempted “to trespass the church’s perimeter security”.

It said that seven people, including an auxiliary policeman, had been killed and four injured as the gunman opened fire at the church.

The attacker also had an explosive device, a machine gun and 150 rounds, it added.

The ministry suggested he was known to security services, saying he was “one of the most active terrorist elements and he carried out several terrorist attacks which resulted in the martyrdom of a number of policemen and civilians”.

However, the interior ministry account contradicts earlier ones from officials and witnesses, who spoke of a higher death toll and more than one attacker.

Video footage has also emerged appearing to show one gunman lying dead at the scene and another alleged attacker fleeing in a red car.

Egypt is a Muslim-majority country and its Christian minority – mostly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church – make up around 10% of the population.