About 10 people have been reported dead after a gunman wearing an explosive vest opened fire at a church in Cairo, before being shot and killed by police.
Egypt’s interior ministry said two officers were killed in the attack, with a further five security guards also injured, according to an Al-Arabiya reporter.
Two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said.
Police also diffused two bombs nearby.
One attacker was shot dead by security forces, the sources and the state-run news agency MENA reported. State television said the second had been captured.
The Health Ministry said that nine people had been killed on Friday in addition to the gunman, and five wounded, including two women in serious condition.
Police have stepped up security measures around churches ahead of the Coptic Christmas celebrations on Jan. 7, deploying officers outside Christian places of worship and setting up metal detectors at some of the bigger churches.
The church is thought to be a place of worship for Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the largest religious minority in the country, accounting for around 10% of its 93 million inhabitants.
Earlier this year, ISIS claimed responsibility for two bomb blasts which killed dozens of churchgoers celebrating Palm Sunday in Egypt.
A bomb exploded inside a church in Tanta, before a suicide bomber was said to have targeted a Coptic church in the northern city of Alexandria.
At least 47 people are said to have died in the attacks.
And a bombing at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 in December 2016, many of them women and children, in another of the deadliest attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority in years.