Wednesday 23 August 2017

Egypt shootout kills 3 'jihadists behind anti-Copt attacks'

Egypt shootout kills 3 'jihadists behind anti-Copt attacks'
(AFP 08/11/17)

Egypt's interior ministry said on Thursday a policeman and three jihadists suspected of involvement in deadly attacks against the country's Coptic Christian minority were killed in a shootout.

Police had arrested one member of the cell who led them to their mountain hideout in the southern province of Qena where the two other jihadists opened fire on Tuesday, the ministry said.

The two suspects, who have not been identified, were killed in the ensuing firefight, along with the informer and a police officer guarding him.

Egypt is battling a local affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist group, which has claimed attacks that have killed more than 100 Copts since December.

At the hideout, police found weapons and "gold jewellery which was probably stolen from some of the Christian victims" of a massacre earlier this year.

On May 26, IS gunmen killed 29 Copts as they travelled in a bus to Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province south of the Egyptian capital.

The bus attack followed two suicide bombings of churches in April that killed 45 Copts. In December, a suicide bomber struck a church in Cairo, killing 29 Copts.

Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 90-million population.

Egypt's IS affiliate is based in North Sinai province, where hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in attacks since the military's ouster in 2013 of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

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