An Egyptian policeman and seven suspected militants were killed late on Tuesday in an exchange of gunfire after the ministry of interior received information about potential Easter attacks against Coptic Christians, the ministry said.
It said three other policemen had also been wounded.
The ministry’s statement said it had received information “that there is a terrorist cell, whose elements embrace Takfiri ideology, using several areas as a shelter in eastern and southern Cairo as a starting point to carry out terrorist operations” against the country’s Coptic Christians during the Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
The Copts, an Orthodox denomination who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s more than 100 million inhabitants, are the Middle East’s largest Christian community. They celebrate Easter on April 19.
Egypt uses the term Takfiri to refer to Islamist militants who often accuse their victims of being infidels.
Two private television stations broadcast what they said was footage of the shooting, which Reuters was not immediately able to verify. The stations asked people to stay indoors.
Read more: Reuters