At least 10 people, including eight Coptic Christians, were killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire outside a church in a south Cairo suburb, Egypt’s Health Ministry spokesman said Friday.
CAIRO — A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Friday outside a church in a working-class Cairo suburb and a nearby store, sparking a shootout that killed at least nine people, including eight Coptic Christians in the latest attack targeting the country’s embattled Christian minority, the health ministry said.
The attack comes just one week before the Coptic Christian community celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7 — a date based on the ancient Egyptian calendar.
The Interior Ministry identified the assailant as Ibrahim Ismail Mostafa, who, the agency said, was involved in several previous militant attacks, according to the Associated Press. The Interior Ministry said he was wounded and arrested but made no mention of his death, which was reported by the Health Ministry.
The assailant had earlier opened fire at the nearby store owned by a Christian, the Interior Ministry said.
Egypt’s Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry had already allocated 230,000 security personnel to secure the country’s 2,626 churches before Christmas but the three armed guards at the St. Mina Church had insufficient ammunition to confront assailants, according to an eyewitness.
“It’s worrisome that the officers did not have enough bullets to engage against this threat,” said Father Boutros Anis, who added that it…