Security sources said two policemen and an onlooker were also injured when the device exploded. Egyptian state media and multiple security sources reported that the explosive device was one of two found inside a bag on a nearby rooftop.
The incident comes less than two days before Egypt’s Christians celebrate the Coptic Christmas.
In a season that has been very hard for followers of Jesus Christ in the Middle East, I’m deeply encouraged by the opportunity to experience “John 17 unity” — Biblical, Christ-centered unity — with my Coptic Orthodox and Protestant brothers in Egypt. #PrayForEgypt pic.twitter.com/mDmw7vrdtE
— Joel C. Rosenberg (@JoelCRosenberg) November 5, 2018
No group has claimed responsibility for setting the bombs.
Extremists Target Coptic Christians
Egyptian security forces have for years battled Islamist extremists who have attacked Coptic Christians, tourists, and security personnel.
Security forces have stepped up their presence outside churches and other places of worship ahead of New Year’s Eve and Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on Jan. 7.
Copts are the largest Christian population in the Middle East and North Africa, making up about 10% of the population in Egypt. They have long complained of discrimination.
Authorities have placed armed guards outside churches and monasteries in an attempt to protect them from jihadist attacks.
In November, extremists killed seven people returning from baptizing a child at a Coptic monastery about 160 miles up the River Nile from Cairo.