Nine dead in gun attack on Egyptian church and shop

The year has ended tragically for Egypt’s Coptic Christians with reports of more carnage in a gun attack on a Coptic Christian church in Cairo.

According to news reports quoting Egypt’s health ministry, an armed man killed at least six people worshipping at Mar Mina Church in the southern suburb of Helwan on Friday. He also tried to throw an explosive device.

The latest death toll of nineincludes two people killed in an earlier assault on a nearby Coptic shop and a Muslim policeman who was guarding the church.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the attack, wire services said.

Friday’s assault is the latest in an ongoing series of terrorist attacks on Coptic Christians since December 2016, which have left more than 100 people dead and scores wounded.

The church was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations on January 7.

Police have now stepped up security measures outside churches, deploying hundreds of thousands of guards and setting up metal detectors at some of the bigger churches in the lead-up to the Coptic Christmas.