The Anba-Barsoum al-Erian Monastery is in the Greater Cairo city of Helwan. (Photo: Watani)

A bomb was found outside an Egyptian church just south of the capital, Cairo, yesterday (29 May), according to Coptic news site Watani.

A guard reportedly found the bomb inside a paper box by the gate to the Anba-Barsoum al-Erian Monastery, in the Greater Cairo city of Helwan, and “quickly informed the security forces, who promptly dismantled it and cordoned the area off”.

This came just three days after at least 28 Copts were killed by masked gunmen who ambushed them on their way to a monastery in the Minya region, about 200km further south.

The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the Minya attack. Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, responded by launching a wave of air strikes in neighbouring Libya, targeting terrorist training camps.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, who constitute about 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million, have suffered a series of deadly assaults this year.

After twin bombings of Coptic churches that killed 49 during packed Palm Sunday worship services in early April, President Sisi ordered a national state of emergency.

Islamic State had released a propaganda video in February, vowing to wipe out Egypt’s Coptic Christians and “liberate Cairo”.

A local IS affiliate known as Sinai Province has attempted to impose its hard-line interpretation of Islam on Egypt’s North Sinai population around El-Arish. In late February and March, hundreds of Christians fled the area and re-located to Port Said, after the Islamists posted videos and leaflets telling Copts to leave the area or be killed. To date this year, eight Copts have been targeted and brutally murdered in the area.