Gunman Kills 9 in Egypt Church Attack Claimed By Isis

Gunman Kills 9 in Egypt Church Attack Claimed By Isis

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

The Islamic State group claimed its "soldiers" carried out the attack on the Saint Mina Coptic church in the district of Helwan, just south of Cairo.

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.

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

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

It added that he had killed two people when he opened fire on a store before heading to the church where he shot dead seven people including the officer.

Cellphone 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 team of forensic experts combed the area.

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

ISIS later claimed responsibility.

In a statement released via its propaganda agency Amaq, it said a group of its "soldiers" had carried out the attack, killing 10 "crusaders" and police officers.

It added that one of its fighters had been killed.

An ISIS affiliate in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings during 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.