Church shootout kills 1 militant in Egypt's Helwan

Church shootout kills 1 militant in Egypt's Helwan

Days ahead of the New Year's Eve, Egypt witnessed a deadly attack on the Coptic church of the Great Martyr Mina in Helwan, in a Cairo suburb, during Christmas ceremonies on Friday.

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.

The police killed three attackers, including the suicide bomber.

At least two people were reportedly killed in that attack. Two other bombs were defused near the church.

President Donald Trump is condemning an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt Friday.

One of the assailants was shot dead, while the other fled, according to initial reports.

The Times notes another incident was reported on Friday involving a gun attack in Helwan at an appliance shop owned by a Copt.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Cellphone footage posted on social media appeared to show the bearded gunman wearing a bulky ammunition vest sprawled on a street, barely conscious, as people restrained his arms and then handcuffed him.

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.

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.

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

Police later cordoned off the crime scene as onlookers crowded around the church, while a forensics team combed the area.

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.

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