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ICC Note: A suicide attack against the Coptic Virgin St. Mary’s Church located near Cairo was thwarted on Saturday. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives after failing to reach the church, which is celebrating for fifteen days the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. An extra security barrier was placed several meters outside of and around the church because of the feast, which is normally attended by thousands. It is common for extremists to target believers during Christian feast days.    

08/13/2018 Egypt (AINA) –   Egyptian security forces foiled a suicide bombing attack at a Christian church outside Cairo on Saturday, state media reported.

The incident occurred at the Coptic Virgin Mary Church in the suburban town of Mostorod, just north of the capital.

The bomber died after detonating an explosive belt on a bridge outside the church after he was denied entry by police, according to the state-run Al Ahram newspaper. No one else was harmed in the attack.

The attempted bombing targeted worshipers gathered to celebrate the annual Assumption of the Virgin Mary. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egyptian Copts, which make about 10% of the Egyptian population, are the largest Christian community in the Middle East and have long been the target of violent attacks.

In 2017, Egypt declared a state of emergency after ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings at two Coptic churches, which killed at least 45 peoples.

Copts also face routine discrimination in the Muslim-majority country despite the Egyptian constitution’s guaranteed “absolute” freedom of religion.

The religious minority also struggles for greater representation in the Egyptian government.

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For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]