The Ministry of Interior announced on Monday that a security raid killed five individuals in Qalyubia, suspected of planning to attack Coptic churches during the coming holiday season.
The statement said that the killed individuals were planning to attack “Christian houses of worship in order to negatively affect the security and economic status of the country.” It explained that police personnel approached the location where militants were allegedly hiding, but an exchange of fire took place and led to the killing of the five individuals.
Although the ministry said it monitored the actions of the alleged militants, it said that the identities of the killed men are still unknown.
Another 10 alleged militants were arrested in Qalyubia and Alexandria, the statement added.
Frequent security raids against militants’ stationing points in Cairo and Giza have taken place since the ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi. Some of the raids that aimed at arresting alleged terrorists ended in shootings after militants opened fire on the approaching security forces.
On 11 December last year, in the midst of a Sunday mass, at least 27 people—mainly women and children—were killed. In 2017, another series of attacks left at least 45 people dead and over a hundred injured in two separate but subsequent bombings at St. George church in Tanta, and St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.
The attacks sparked the implementation of a three-month state of emergency by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the formation of a new national council to combat terrorism, and the opening of debates on methods to face extremist discourse.