In Summary
  • The gunman killed two people in a store before heading to the church where he shot dead seven people including an officer.
  • The state gave conflicting reports with one ministry saying the gunman was killed and another saying he was wounded.

CAIRO

A gunman opened fire on a church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people in the latest apparent jihadist attack on the country's Christian minority.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that the gunman was shot dead after killing nine people and wounding others, including a police officer.

JIHADIST

But the interior ministry said in a statement that the assailant, a wanted jihadist implicated in attacks on police, had been wounded and arrested.

The jihadist had been armed with an assault rifle, 150 bullets and a bomb he intended to set off at the church, the ministry said.

The ministry said he killed two people when he opened fire on a store before heading to the church where he shot dead seven people including an officer.

Mobile phone footage posted on social media appeared to show the bearded gunman wearing a bulky ammunition vest sprawled on a street, barely conscious, as people restrained his arms and then handcuffed him.

Police later cordoned off the crime scene as onlookers crowded around the church, while a forensics team combed the area.

Congealing blood could be seen at a guard post in front of the church.

ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS

The Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings over the past year, and has threatened further attacks against the minority.

Friday's attack came ahead of Christmas for the Copts, who celebrate it on January 7.

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