Two Egyptian Policeman Killed During Attack on Church

Cellphone footage posted on social media appeared to show gunman barely conscious as people restrained his arms and then handcuffed him

Islamist militants have said they were behind several attacks on Egypt's large Christian minority in recent years, including two bombings on Palm Sunday in April and a blast at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral in December 2016 that killed 28 people. One of the assailants fled the attack site and is being pursued by the security forces.

The church attack is part of a "ongoing crisis" in Egypt, said Omar Ashour, a professor of security studies at the Doha Institute.

Authorities reported at least nine people dead, among them three police officers.

Local media said the dead attacker had been wearing an explosive belt, and that two other bombs had been defused near the church.

Two gunmen opened fired outside the Marmina Coptic Orthodox church in Helwan, a neighborhood in south Cairo, Khaled Megahed told reporters.

Coptic Christians in Egypt have been under attack by extremist organisations in various incidents.

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

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Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region. Isis also claimed responsibility last week for firing an anti-tank missile at a helicopter at an airport in northern Sinai as the defence and interior ministers were visiting.

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

No group immediately claims responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December of the previous year, but it bears the hallmarks of the Islamic State group's local affiliate. Authorities have closed off the area around the church.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency quoted an official anonymously as informing that the attack in Helwan was perpetrated by two attackers.

A Muslim mob ransacks and torches seven Christian homes in Minya after rumors spread that a Christian man had an affair with a Muslim woman. No suspects have been named and the case remains unresolved.

Furthermore, President Sisi received a phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump, who offered condolences over the victims of a terrorist attack in Cairo.

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