Gunmen kill 12 in Cairo church

30 December, 2017, 01:37 | Author: Irene Delgado

One attacker was shot dead by security forces, the sources and the state-run news agency Mena reported.

Police have stepped up security measures around churches ahead of Coptic Christmas celebrations on January 7, deploying officers outside Christian places of worship and setting up metal detectors at some of the bigger churches.

The church was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week.

Security forces went on high alert for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

At least nine people are dead after two gunmen attacked the Mari Mina Church in Egypt's capital on Friday, authorities said.

Police inspect the site of an attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo, Egypt December 29, 2017. Three officers were killed in the ensuing gun battle, along with one of the terrorists.

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

Earlier, security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said two police were killed.

Egypt's Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded. It also said there was a separate attack on a store in the same neighborhood of Helwan that killed two Copts. The country has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday in an attack that was claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Officials said the exchange of gunfire also injured at least five other people. The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The interior ministry said in a statement in the afternoon that it arrested an attacker who attempted to drive through security forces outside the church armed with a machinegun, ammunition and a bomb that he meant to detonate in the church.

A video circulating on social media after Friday's attack apparently showed the gunman lying on the ground with his face covered in blood.

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