Police officer killed in bomb defusing attempt

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An Egyptian police officer was killed while attempting to defuse a bomb found near a church in an eastern Cairo suburb, state television reported, less than two days before Egypt’s Christians celebrate the Coptic Christmas.

The device was one of two found in a bag on a rooftop, security sources and state media reported.

Two policemen and an onlooker were also injured when the device exploded, security sources said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Egyptian security forces have for years battled Islamist insurgents who attack Coptic Christians, tourists and security personnel.

Security forces stepped up their presence outside churches and other places of worship ahead of New Year’s Eve and Coptic Christmas, celebrated on January 7.

The Copts, who make up around 10% of the population, have long complained of discrimination. Authorities placed armed guards outside churches and monasteries to protect them from jihadist attacks.

In November, militants killed seven people returning from baptising a child at a Coptic monastery.