Two Christians killed in New Year attack on Egypt liquor store
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Two Christians killed in New Year attack on Egypt liquor store

Police investigating motive of attacker who opened fire from back of motorcycle taxi while revelers were celebrating

An Egyptian soldier stands guard outside the Saint Joseph Catholic Church ahead of New Year's Eve mass in Cairo on December 31, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)
An Egyptian soldier stands guard outside the Saint Joseph Catholic Church ahead of New Year's Eve mass in Cairo on December 31, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

CAIRO, Egypt — A gunman killed two Copts celebrating the New Year in an Egyptian alcohol shop early on Monday, judicial and security sources said, the latest deadly violence against the Christian minority.

The shooting came just three days after a gunman, identified as a wanted jihadist, killed nine people in an attack on a church south of the capital.

An assailant rode up in the back of a motorcycle taxi and opened fire on the liquor store in Cairo’s twin city Giza at around 1:30 a.m., when the streets were still bustling with New Year revelers, the sources said.

The store’s Coptic owner survived but two of his friends who were celebrating with him were killed.

Police are still investigating the motive of the attack, the sources said.

Alcohol consumption is forbidden by Islam and liquor stores, most of which are run by Copts, have come under attack in the past by hard-line Muslims who believe they should be banned.

On January 2 last year, a Muslim slit the throat of a Coptic liquor store owner in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.

The assailant was sentenced to death after telling the court that he would kill all alcohol sellers if he could.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country’s 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region.

Dozens of Christians have been killed in church bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamic State group’s Egypt affiliate over the past year.

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