Ten dead in church attack near Cairo, attacker killed

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Islamist militants have claimed 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. Two bombs were defused near the church.

Gunmen killed at least nine people, including three police officers, in an attack on a Coptic Christian church south of Cairo yesterday, medical and security sources said.

A gunman opened fire outside a Coptic church before he was shot dead himself, the officials said.

Security forces shot dead one of the assailants in an exchange of fire outside the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district while the other assailant has been captured, state TV and state news agency MENA said.

The ministry said forces had "immediately dealt with the (attacker) and arrested him after he was wounded".

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Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, would not offer any specifics on what led Putin to declare the attack an act of terrorism. Petersburg, confirmed the individuals had sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were admitted to hospitals.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack.

The arrested attacker is an active terrorist who has carried out a number of terrorist attacks targeting police and civilians, the statement added.

Authorities have closed off the area around the church.

The attack attempt was thwarted amid high security measures taken by the Ministry of Interior nationwide ahead of Christmas celebrations in Egypt.

The spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church said in a statement that at least six people were killed in the attack including five Copts and a policeman.