At least nine people including three police have died in an attack on a Coptic Christian Church south of Cairo.
Two gunmen opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district on 29 December, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations.
One attacker was shot dead by security forces. The gunmen is said to have been wearing an explosives belt, suggesting an even more deadly attack was planned, reports BBC correspondent Radwa Gamal in Cairo. The second gunman has been detained.
Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt’s large Christian minority in recent years, including two deadly bomb attacks on Palm Sunday in April and an explosion at Cairo’s largest Coptic Cathedral last December that killed 28 people.
At least 29 Copts were killed on a bus in May and a Coptic Orthodox priest was stabbed to death in Cairo in October.
Police have stepped up security measures around churches ahead of the Coptic Christmas celebrations on 7 January, deploying officers outside Christian places of worship and installing metal detectors at some of the bigger churches.