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UK issues travel warning for Egypt after bomb found outside church in Cairo

AN EGYPTIAN policeman was killed while trying to defuse a bomb outside a Christian church near Cairo, sparking fears over the safety of the country.

Mustafa Abid, a highly trained specialist in mine clearance, died while detonating the bomb hidden in a bag on a roof by a church in Nasr City, just outside Cairo, on Saturday. The bomb was laid at the site just two days before Egypt’s Christmas celebrations. Egyptian Christians – known as Copts – celebrate Coptic Christmas on January 7. Coptic Christians are the largest religious minority in Egypt with a population of over 10 million, and were once the majority religious group in the state before most converted to Islam in the 640s CE.

Christians in the state have faced increased levels of violence in recent months, with a rising spate of attacks against the religious group.

The UK Foreign Office has designated Nasr City and Cairo, as well as beach holiday hotspot Sharm el Sheikh as open for Britons to travel to, but advises tourists to to keep updated with travel advice before their trip.

It is in contrast to the majority of the rest of the country which the Foreign Office advises against all travel or all but essential travel.

“You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions and businesses posted on websites and social media. The main threat to foreigners is from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. There is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks targeting Coptic Christians from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai in Egypt.

“You should avoid crowded places and gatherings, including in or around religious sites and during religious festivals, such as the month of Ramadan and the Christmas period (including Coptic Christmas), when terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks.

“Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times. You can find a list of local holidays on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo.

“Around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2017. Most visits are trouble free.

Content courtesy: Sunday Express UK.