Knife-attacker shot dead after stabbing guard at church

A knife-wielding attacker has been shot dead by security guards at the Virgin Mary church in Cairo's eastern suburb of Nozha, according to state-run news agency MENA.

In the incident on Wednesday, the assailant is alleged to have carried out a knife-attack on a security guard at the church, but guards intervened with guns, killing him.

MENA reports that security forces are investigating the incident, but so far the attacker's motives remain unclear.

Attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt have stepped up over the past years, especially after Coptic Christians sided with the Egyptian army in the military's 2013 ouster of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Scores of churches were stormed, looted, and torched in the ensuing violence. Most of the assaults took place in southern Egypt.

Christians make up some 10 percent of Egypt's 91 million people.

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