ISIS claims attack on Cairo church
by Leigh Jones
Posted 12/30/17, 09:19 am
UPDATE: Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on a Cairo church and a nearby store owned by a Coptic Christian. In a report carried on its Aamaq news agency, the group said a “security detail” carried out the attack, which “martyred” one of its members. Egyptian officials have released conflicting accounts of the number of assailants involved. Officials initially said a lone gunman carried out the attack. Later reports said security teams were searching for a second attacker who escaped.
UPDATE(12/29/17, 3:45 p.m.): Officials have modified the death toll from Friday’s attack in Cairo to nine, with eight victims coming from the Coptic Christian community. Officials also say they are looking for a second gunman who fled during a firefight with security officers. The other gunman died.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (12/29/17, 12:01 p.m.): A lone gunman killed 10 people, including eight Coptic Christians, after opening fire at two locations in Cairo. The attack began at a store owned by a Christian in a Cairo suburb. The gunman then moved on to Mar Mina church in Helwan, Cairo, and attempted to drive his motorcycle through the security checkpoint outside. When he couldn’t enter the building, the assailant began shooting at people on the sidewalk. One policeman died and five others suffered injuries. Officials say the attacker also died in the firefight. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is similar to others launched by local militants affiliated with Islamic State. Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, and Egyptian security forces have stepped up patrols around churches in anticipation of likely attacks. Islamic militants have increased attacks against Coptic Christians since 2016. In April, suicide bombings at two Coptic churches on Palm Sunday killed at least 71 people.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.