Gunmen Attack Cairo Church, Killing at Least 8

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Gunmen attacked the Mar Mina Church in Cairo on Friday. Experts believe the assault to be the work of the Islamic State.

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Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

CAIRO — At least eight people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo on Friday, a church spokesman said, in the latest in a series of attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority.

The attack targeted the Mar Mina Church in the southern Cairo neighborhood of Helwan. At least one gunman was killed by the police.

“He did not manage to get in. He just got everyone who was about to enter the church,” the spokesman, Boules Haliem, said in a phone interview. He said that at least seven worshipers and one police officer were among the dead and that the building had not been damaged.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

No group has claimed the attack, but experts believe it is the work of the Islamic State.

The militant group declared its intention to attack Egyptian Christians last year as it seeks a stronger foothold in Egypt after defeats in Syria and Iraq. It has since killed more than 100 Egyptian Copts by bombing churches and attacking buses carrying pilgrims.

The group, already had a strong presence in the northern half of the Sinai Peninsula, where it has been targeting police and military installations.

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