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Egypt police officer killed defusing bomb at Coptic church in Cairo Open in fullscreen

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Egypt police officer killed defusing bomb at Coptic church in Cairo

Copts have long complained of discrimination in Egypt [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 January, 2019

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An Egyptian police officer, who was an explosives expert, has been killed while defusing a bomb in a church in eastern Cairo days before Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas.
A police officer was killed and two others wounded in an explosion outside a church in Egypt on Saturday, a security source said.

The blast took place when security personnel were dismantling an explosive device in Nasr City on the edge of Cairo, the source said.

The incident came two days before Egypt's Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

Copts, a Christian minority that make up 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people, have in recent years been repeatedly targeted by IS jihadists.

In May 2017, masked gunmen ordered Christians travelling to Saint Samuel to get off their buses and recant their faith.

The group refused and were shot one by one, leaving 28 people dead in the IS-claimed attack.

IS also killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April 2017, and an IS gunman last December killed nine people in an attack on a church in a south Cairo suburb.

Egypt's army launched a major offensive in February 2018 against IS in the Sinai Peninsula, where the group has waged a deadly insurgency since the fall of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, killing hundreds of soldiers and policemen.

The military offensive - Dubbed "Sinai 2018" - has killed more than 450 jihadists, according to an army estimate, with around 30 soldiers killed.

Copts have long complained of discrimination in Egypt and IS is not the only group to have launched sectarian attacks against the community.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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