Egypt: Gunman attacks liquor store, killing 2 Christians

Egypt: Gunman attacks liquor store, killing 2 Christians

Egypt: Gunman attacks liquor store, killing 2 Christians

In this Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 file photo, a policeman stands guard in front of Mar Mina church after a deadly attack claimed by the Islamic State group in Helwan, Cairo, Egypt. Security officials said another attack on Christians, this one at a Christian-owned liquor store on New Year's Eve, left two brothers dead. (Credit: AP Photo/Amr Nabil.)

Building on a mounting pattern of attacks on Christian targets, security officials in Egypt said two Christian brothers were killed on Friday night when an unidentified gunmen attacked their liquor store in Giza province.

CAIRO — Egyptian security officials say a gunman has killed two Coptic Christian brothers in an attack on a liquor store in Giza province, just days after nine people were killed in an attack on a church and store in Cairo.

The officials said Monday the attack took place on New Year’s eve, a busy night for liquor stores.

They say it is unclear whether the attacker was an extremist.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Friday’s attack in Helwan suburb left eight Copts and a policeman dead. It was claimed by the Islamic State group.

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. Generally speaking threats to Christians accelerate around Christmas time, as the perceived symbolic value of doing violence on Christian holy days mounts.

In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, following most of the Eastern Christian churches, Christmas will be celebrated this year on Jan. 7.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation, and say authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks.

Recently, hundreds of Muslim demonstrators stormed an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people. The demonstrators shouted anti-Christian slogans and called for the church’s demolition, the diocese in the area said at the time. The demonstrators destroyed the church’s contents and assaulted Christians inside before security personnel arrived and dispersed them.

Police officials say they’re stepping up security measures at Coptic churches ahead of Christmas celebrations.

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