Gunmen Attack Popular Religious Tourism Site In Sinai

Kristopher Drake
April 19, 2017

At least one police officer has been killed and four others were injured after gunmen attacked security forces near one of Egypt's most important Christian sites.

No further details were immediately available and government officials in Cairo couldn't be reached for comment.

The Greek Orthodox monastery was a popular destination, primarily for Orthodox Christian pilgrims, but was closed to the public for security reasons in 2015, leaving only the monks and clergy inside the compound.

Shortly after the shooting occurred, the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility through their Amaq news agency.

Following the attack on the two churches on Palm Sunday (9 April) - one at the Saint George church in Tanta and the other at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria - Sisi announced a state of emergency, which was later approved by Parliament.

Egypt has been suffering anti-security attacks mainly in North Sinai, where IS takes a base of its attacks.

Attacks in South Sinai, however, have been rare in recent years.

Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, have also long complained of suffering discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at the hands of the country's majority Muslim population.

Egypt's Chri st ian minority, which makes up about 10% of the country's 92 million people, has increasingly been targeted by Islami st militants, with three deadly church attack s in the span of four months. The U.S. issued a travel warning on Wednesday, advising its nationals in Egypt to stay away from places of worship for the next two weeks and to avoid crowds as long as they remain in the country.

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