9 dead after gunmen attack Egypt church in terror attack

At least three people have been killed after a gunman opened fire at a Coptic Christian church in Egypt. The gunman was later shot dead and

The attack, according to Interior Ministry statement, claimed the lives of seven people, including one police conscript when a gunman opened fire outside the church.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the attack that took place earlier Friday outside Mar Mina church in the Helwan district, south of Cairo, Egypt.

The second assailtant was captured soon after, Reuters reported.

A gunman on a motorcycle opens fire outside a church and at a store in a south Cairo suburb, killing at least eight Coptic Christians, and a policeman.

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Earlier, an Al Arabiya reporter on the ground said that three policemen were killed at the scene. The operation to detain two other attackers is underway.

Sirens were heard in central Cairo immediately after the incident.

Police protection for Coptic churches has increased ahead of Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7. The high death toll serves as a grim reminder of the difficulties of Egypt's struggle to restore security and stability after almost six years of turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Authorities have shut off the area around the church.

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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.

Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians are frequently targeted in Egypt.

Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt's large Christian minority in recent years, including two bomb attacks on Palm Sunday in April and a blast at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral last December that killed 28 people. The officials stated that a gunman fired upon people outside the church.

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