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Egyptian policeman dies trying to defuse bomb outside church

CAIRO — Egypt’s Interior Ministry says a policeman was killed as he was trying to defuse a homemade explosive device near a church in a residential Cairo district.

The ministry says the blast late on Saturday in the Egyptian capital also wounded the commander of the bomb squad. It came just two days before the Orthodox Coptic Church, the dominant denomination among Egypt’s estimated 10 million Christians, celebrates Christmas.

The incident likely will force authorities to further tighten security around churches.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has targeted Christians over the past years, killing more than a hundred of them in attacks on churches and buses carrying pilgrims to remote desert monasteries.

Egypt has been battling militants for years.

The Associated Press