Policeman Killed While Defusing Bomb Outside Church in Egypt as Coptic Christian Community Prepares to Celebrate Christmas; President Trump Says He is ‘Excited’ to See Egyptian President al-Sisi ‘Open the Biggest Cathedral in the Middle East

In this Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 photo, police form a security cordon after a policeman was killed trying to defuse an explosive device near a church, in a residential district of Cairo, Egypt. The blast came just two days before the Orthodox Coptic Church, the dominant denomination among Egypt’s estimated 10 million Christians, celebrates Christmas. (AP Photo/Sayed Hasan)

The Egyptian Coptic Christian community is celebrating Christmas on Monday amid safety concerns, two days after a policeman died defusing a bomb outside a church.

BBC News reported that the policeman, Mustafa Abid, a specialist in mine clearance, was killed, while two others were injured by a bomb found on a roof by a church in Nasr City outside Cairo.

While no group claimed immediate responsibility, Coptic Christians, who make up only 10 percent of the population, have been increasingly targeted by Islamic extremists, some linked to the Islamic State terror group.

Over 100 people have been killed in church bombings and other attacks by radicals since 2016.

On Sunday, the Coptic Christmas Eve, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the country’s biggest cathedral, the Nativity of Christ, in Egypt’s new administrative capital.

Sisi observed a moment of silence for Abid, AFP reported, and declared that Egyptians are united against terror.

“We are one and we will continue to be one,” Sisi said, noting that the nearby Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque carried the same message.

“This moment is very important in our history.”

Egypt’s top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb added that “if Islamic law requires Muslims to protect mosques, it equally requires Muslims to protect churches.”

Several Islamic authorities in the country, including Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, denounced the latest church bombing attempt, calling it a “terrorist operation.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov