At least two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside a Coptic church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people in the latest attack on the country’s Christian minority, reported The Guardian.
The attack happened at the Marmina church in the Helwan City district on the capital’s southern outskirts. The dead include members of the congregation and a police officer killed in a shootout at the security post guarding the building. Several others were wounded.
One of the gunmen was killed after an exchange of fire with security forces, while another was arrested as he tried to escape to a narrower street across the road from the church, interior ministry sources told the Guardian.
The source said at least four of the casualties were officers from the special forces squad guarding the church. “After the attack, explosive experts dismantled two IEDs [improvised explosive devices], near the church,” he said.
The interior ministry however said in an official statement that the attack was carried out by one militant who “was going to blow himself up using a suicide belt.” It described him as a “dangerous element” who participated in several operations against security personnel.