At least 9 dead in church shooting near Cairo, Egypt

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Two gunmen opened fired outside the Marmina Coptic Orthodox church in Helwan, a neighborhood in south Cairo, Khaled Megahed told reporters.

Authorities reported at least nine people dead, among them three police officers.

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.

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A video circulated on social media after the attack apparently shows the gunman lying on the ground.

No one has claimed responsibility as of Friday morning, but the Islamic State has largely claimed responsibility for previous attacks on Christian churches in Egypt.

Coptic Christians in Egypt have been faced several attacks by extremist organisations. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Trump has promised to make protecting beleaguered Christian communities overseas a priority for his administration. The assault came a little more than a month after militants killed 311 worshippers inside a mosque in Sinai, the deadliest attack by militants on civilians in Egypt's modern history.

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Just last week, hundreds of Muslim demonstrators stormed an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people. The demonstrators destroyed the church's contents and assaulted Christians inside before security personnel arrived and dispersed them.

Security forces went on high alert for Christmas and New Year celebrations. On Palm Sunday in April, terrorists staged an explosion in the main church of the city of Tanta, where about 30 people died. The elderly mother of the aforementioned man was stripped naked and dragged through a street by a mob to humiliate her. No suspects have been named and the case remains unresolved.

Smartphone users have begun posting footage of the attack online.

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