Eleven people were killed in all, including a policeman at the church, according to Interior Ministry and Coptic Church accounts. The country has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday in an attack that was claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.
Two gunmen opened fire on worshipers in a Coptic church in the Helwan City district south of Cairo on Friday.
According to the BBC, Egyptian police patrolling near the church approached two men who were behaving suspiciously.
A gunman opened fire on a church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people before policemen shot him dead, officials and state media said.
According to the Youm7 newspaper, the security forces are now trying to detain the second attacker, who left the scene riding a motorcycle.
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Police protection for Coptic churches has increased ahead of Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has personally chaired meetings with his top security chiefs in recent days to discuss security during New Year's Eve and the Orthodox Christmas. The attack took place when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside the church, he said. The officials stated that a gunman fired upon people outside the church.
Also, the Italian Embassy in Egypt strongly condemned Friday's heinous attack in Helwan.
Egypt's Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded. The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
"The shooting began at 10:30 a.m. and carried on for more than 15 minutes. there was more than one attacker", Mohammed Hussein Abdelhadi, who lives close to the church, told Reuters.
Earlier, an Al Arabiya reporter on the ground said that three policemen were killed at the scene.