At least 9 dead in church shooting near Cairo, Egypt

Egypt church attack

A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Friday outside a church in a Cairo suburb and at a nearby store, sparking a shootout that killed at least nine people, including eight Coptic Christians, authorities said.

Police inspect the site of an attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo, Egypt December 29, 2017.

Two other bombs are said to have been defused near the church.

The Islamic State asserted responsibility for Friday's assault.

The claim was carried by the group's Aamaq news agency.

A video circulated on social media after the attack shows the dead gunman on the ground.

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 lot of them belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The gunman was also killed, along with at least one police officer, officials said. Sirens were heard in central Cairo as the incident was first reported. Authorities closed off the area around the church.

Egypt's Copts have been subject to several deadly attacks over the past few years, which has raised questions about the Egyptian state's ability to protect its Christian population from terrorist threats.

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.

Al-Sisi said that he "is following the consequences of the terror attack closely". At least two people were reportedly killed in that attack.