Policeman Killed Defusing Bomb at Egypt Church

A policeman, Mustafa Abid, was killed while trying to defuse an explosive device outside a Coptic church in Egypt on Saturday.

Two other officers were also wounded in the explosion as security personnel attempted to dismantle the device in Nasr City on the edge of Cairo, security sources said.

The device was hidden inside a bag that was searched by police, before the department of mine clearance took over.

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

The latest attack comes ahead of Christmas mass on Sunday when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is due to inaugurate the Cathedral of Nativity in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres (28 miles) east of Cairo.

Security has been reinforced in the capital in recent weeks ahead of Christmas, which Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians will celebrate on January 7.

Sisi, who has been at the helm since 2014, often presents himself as a defender of Christians against extremists, though activists accuse the state of discriminating against them and not providing enough protection.

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

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