Egyptian police outside a Coptic church near Cairo

Picture copyright

Picture caption

Safety forces guarded streets approaching the church

A policeman has been killed attempting to defuse a bomb exterior a Coptic Christian church in Egypt, safety officers say.

Mustafa Abid was reportedly a specialist in mine clearance. The explosion injured two different officers and an onlooker.

The gadget was certainly one of two hidden in a bag on a roof by the church in Nasr Metropolis exterior Cairo.

It comes two days earlier than Egypt’s Christians have fun their Christmas.

About 10% of Egypt’s inhabitants are Copts, and lots of say the state discriminates in opposition to them and doesn’t supply them sufficient safety.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi – who declares himself a defender of Christians in opposition to extremists – is because of open Cathedral of Nativity on Sunday exterior the capital, the day earlier than Coptic Christmas on 7 January.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

The brand new cathedral is about to open on Sunday on the new administrative capital east of Cairo

No group has of but claimed the assault, however Islamist insurgents have repeatedly attacked Copts prior to now. Greater than 100 have been killed in assaults by jihadists since 2016.

Final October, 17 people were sentenced to death for their involvement in bomb attacks on Coptic churches.

And the next month, police killed 19 Islamist militants who were accused of attacking Christians in a shoot-out.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the primary Christian Church in Egypt. Whereas most Copts reside there, the church has about one million members exterior the nation.

Copts imagine that their religion dates again to about AD50, when the Apostle Mark is alleged to have visited Egypt. The top of the church known as the Pope, and is taken into account to be the successor of Saint Mark.

Media playback is unsupported in your gadget

Media captionCoptic Christians are a major minority in Egypt

The Coptic Church separated from different Christian denominations on the Council of Chalcedon in 451, in a dispute over the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ.

The present Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, stepped away from social media final month by closing his official Fb web page.