2 policemen among 3 dead in Egypt church attack

At least three dead after gunman opens fire at Cairo church

A gunman killed at least 11 people on Friday in attacks on a Coptic Orthodox church and a Christian-owned shop near Cairo before he was wounded and arrested, the Egyptian interior ministry and church officials said.

Hours before the church attack, the Egyptian army announced that six soldiers and three gunmen had been killed in two separate incidents in North Sinai.

The terror sect the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on a church in the southern Cairo suburb of Helwan, Reuters reports.

Ismail is suspected to have links to several past attacks, including one by a group that opened fire on a police bus a year ago in Cairo.

Earlier this year at least 43 people were killed in twin bombings in Coptic churches in the cities of Alexandria and Tanta while they gathered to celebrate Palm Sunday. It was the latest attack targeting Egypt's embattled Christian minority. It was not clear how many assailants were involved.

Two police officers are thought to be among the dead.

A video circulating on social media after Friday's attack apparently showed the gunman lying on the ground with his face covered in blood.

Egypt imposed a state of emergency following the church attacks and shootings, and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded the army quell the jihadists with "brutal force" following the mosque massacre.

Ahead of the January 6 Christmas celebrations, Egypt's security apparatus has been on high alert, deploying security personnel at churches across the country.

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