Egypt officials say bombing attempt near church thwarted

Egypt officials say bombing attempt near church thwarted

Egypt officials say bombing attempt near church thwarted

In this 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. Police say they stopped an attack on a Coptic church north of Cairo on Saturday. (Credit: Amr Nabil/AP.)

A man wearing an explosives belt attempted to attack a Coptic Christian church north of Cairo but failed to enter before blowing himself up, Egyptian security officials said Saturday.

CAIRO, Egypt — A man wearing an explosives belt attempted to attack a Coptic Christian church north of Cairo but failed to enter before blowing himself up, Egyptian security officials said Saturday.

The man tried to enter the church in Mostorod district in Qaliubiya province with churchgoers but eightened security around the church prevented him from approaching, the officials said. Local media reported that he detonated the explosives about 250 meters (275 yards) from the church, killing himself. No other fatalities were reported.

Mostorod is located some 7 miles north of Cairo. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.

Egypt’s Christians account for about 10 percent of the country’s predominantly Muslim population. They have been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that have left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since bombings and suicide attacks targeting minority Coptic Christians killed scores in 2017. The extremist Islamic State group claimed those attacks.

The government has been struggling to contain an insurgency by Islamic militants led by an affiliate of IS in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, but attacks on the mainland have also occurred.

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