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Hours Before Orthodox Christmas, Bomb Disposal Officer Killed in Explosion Outside Cairo Church

A police bomb disposal officer was killed while attempting to dismantle a bomb outside a Cairo church on Saturday, Agence France Press reports. Five other people were injured, including two other police officers.

The dead police officer in the bombing in Cairo has been identified as Major Mustafa Abid.

The blast took place just ten yards from the Coptic church in Cairo's Nasr City.

Coptic officials have offered their condolences to the family of the dead police officer:

The attack came just hours before President Sisi was set to inaugurate with Pope Tawadros a new Coptic cathedral in the new administrative capital city 28 miles east of Cairo on Sunday.

Christmas celebrations for most Eastern Orthodox churches, including Egypt's Coptic church, begin Sunday night (their Christmas Eve). Security has been increased around churches and other religious sites for Christmas services.

Earlier this week President Sisi was condemned by the Muslim Brotherhood for the government's role in building the new cathedral.

Since launching a massive campaign last January, the Egyptian government has waged a large-scale effort to uproot a terrorist insurgency that began after the popular uprising against Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government and his removal as president in July 2013.

Military and police officials, the Christian community, and tourists have been the main targets of the ongoing insurgency.

Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed and 12 others were injured on December 28 by an improvised explosive device (IED) that struck their tour bus near the Pyramids in Giza. No group has claimed credit for that bombing.

More than 100 Coptic Christians have been killed in terror incidents the past two years.

As I reported here at PJ Media, the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt took credit for an attack on Coptic pilgrims returning from a child's baptism at the St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery outside Minya in Upper Egypt on November 2. Seven were shot and killed -- six from one family -- and 14 were injured.