Home islamization/Jihad ISIS claim responsibility for ‘jihadist’ gunman attack on a Coptic Christian bookshop...

ISIS claim responsibility for ‘jihadist’ gunman attack on a Coptic Christian bookshop and church in Cairo that killed nine

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ISIS has claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a Coptic Christian bookshop and church in Cairo that killed nine people.

The fanatic, armed with an assault rifle, 150 rounds of ammunition and a bomb, went on the rampage outside Mar Mina church in the capital before being shot himself as he tried to storm the building.

The terror group claimed responsibility for the atrocity through its Amaq news agency, which has been known to make false statements in the past.

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

The gunman, already wanted over attacks on police, first targeted a Coptic owned bookshop killing two before moving on to the church and slaughtering seven more.

Dramatic footage captured a gunfight outside the church and shows what is believed to be the jihadist walking around with his assault rifle.

It comes in the wake of a series of massacres at Coptic Christian churches carried out by ISIS in recent years.

Pictures show pools of blood on the ground and bullet holes in the walls of the church in the aftermath of the gunfight.

There were conflicting reports from Egyptian officials as to whether the gunman had been killed or wounded. It was also reported that there were two assailants and that one had gone on the run before being captured.

The interior 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.

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

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

Five people were wounded in the attack including two women who are in a serious condition in hospital.

There have been numerous attacks on Coptic churches in recent years.

ISIS in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings over the past year, and has threatened further attacks against the minority.

Samir Gerges, a witness, said people inside the church closed the gates when the shootout began but bullets from the gunfire still entered the building.

He said he was walking in a nearby street when the shooting happened. He saw people running and some of them went to hide from the gunfire inside a nearby restaurant.

Raouth Atta, 40, was attending prayers inside the church when the shooting took place.

‘Once the gunfire was heard, the gates were closed immediately,’ she said.

‘People were terrified and wanted to check on their families in other buildings of the church. We stayed inside for 30 minutes before we were able to get out.’

Ms Atta said that once she was let outside the building she saw blood scattered everywhere.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country’s 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region.

ISIS had claimed a suicide bombing of a Cairo church in December 2016 followed by bombings of two churches north of the capital in April.

A month later, ISIS gunmen shot dead about 30 Christians south of Cairo as they travelled to a monastery.

The jihadists are believed to have also carried out a massacre of Muslim worshippers in Sinai last month, killing more than 300 in an attack on a mosque associated with the mystical Sufi strand of Islam which IS views as heretical.

Egypt imposed a state of emergency following the church attacks and shootings, and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded the army quell the jihadists with ‘brutal force’ following the mosque massacre.

The group has been waging a deadly insurgency based in the Sinai peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

They have increasingly targeted civilians as attacks on the security forces have become more difficult.

The army has poured in thousands of troops backed with armour and jets in a bid to crush the Sinai-based jihadists, but attacks have continued.

The attack on the church came a day after six Egyptian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in the Sinai.

Last week, ISIS claimed responsibility for firing an antitank missile at a helicopter in a North Sinai airport as the defence and interior ministers were visiting.

The attack killed an aide to the defence minister and a helicopter pilot, but both ministers returned to Cairo unscathed.