Egypt says 10 killed in attack on Coptic church

  • Egypt says 10 killed in attack on Coptic church

Egypt says 10 killed in attack on Coptic church

"I express my closeness to the Coptic Orthodox brothers of Egypt, struck two days ago by two attacks on a church and a business on the outskirts of Cairo", Francis said.

The attack came amid tightened security around churches and Christian facilities ahead of the Coptic Orthodox Christian celebrations of Christmas on January 7.

29 a gunman opened fire on a Coptic Christian church in the Helwan district of Cairo, Egypt.

In a statement released via its propaganda agency Amaq, it said a group of its "soldiers" had carried out the attack, killing "crusaders" and police officers.

A video circulated on social media after the attack apparently shows the dead gunman on the ground.

Last week, ISIL claimed responsibility for firing an antitank missile at a helicopter in a North Sinai airport as the defence and interior ministers were visiting.

The World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit has condemned the twin attacks on Coptic Christians in the Helwan area south of Cairo in which 12 people were killed.

Egypt imposed a state of emergency following the church attacks and shootings, and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi demanded the army quell the extremists with "brutal force" following the mosque massacre.

Sale and consumption of alcohol in Egypt is legal, and it is sold in specialist shops or licensed premises.

The Interior Ministry identified the assailant as Ibrahim Ismail Mostafa, who, the agency said, was involved in several previous militant attacks.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency, citing an unnamed Interior Ministry official, said the other assailant fled the scene and was being pursued. He saw people running and some taking cover in a nearby restaurant. "We stayed inside for 30 minutes before we were able to get out".

"We pray for the victims and their families, and for the church leaders", he said, "and we seek God's mercy, love and grace that we may be empowered with strength to continue our pilgrimage of justice and peace".

Since December 2016, Egypt's Copts have been targeted by the militants, who waged a series of attacks that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.

A bomb disposal team has defused two bombs planted near the church.

The local IS affiliate has claimed responsibility for all the bombings targeting Christians.

Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country's 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region. They have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation and claim that authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks. The demonstrators shouted anti-Christian slogans and called for the church's demolition, according to the local diocese.