Egyptian police officer killed defusing bomb outside Cairo church
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Egyptian police officer killed defusing bomb outside Cairo church

2 others wounded dismantling explosive device; Sissi to attend Christmas mass at cathedral on Sunday

A policeman stands guard in front of Mar Mina church after a deadly attack claimed by the Islamic State group, in Helwan, Cairo, Egypt, on December 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A policeman stands guard in front of Mar Mina church after a deadly attack claimed by the Islamic State group, in Helwan, Cairo, Egypt, on December 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO, Egypt — A policeman was killed and two 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 minority Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7.

It also comes ahead of a Christmas mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of Nativity in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is set to attend the mass and inaugurate the Cathedral.

Coptic Christians, who account for around 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have been targeted in a string of Islamic State group attacks in recent years.

Egyptian mourners and officials stand next to the coffins of the victims of a bomb explosion that targeted a Coptic Orthodox Church the previous day in Cairo, at the end their funeral in the capital’s Nasr City neighbourhood on December 12, 2016. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

More than 100 Copts have been killed in jihadist attacks since December 2016.

IS claimed an assault in early November which killed six Copts and one Anglican in the central province of Minya.

The police later said 19 suspected jihadists linked to the attack had been killed in a shootout.

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

The country has been under a state of emergency since April 2017.

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