Al-Qiddisain (Saints) Church in Alexandria, Egypt, in a 2011 photo. (Open Doors International)

A security guard was wounded on Saturday (15 July) at a Coptic church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria, after an Egyptian Muslim stabbed him in the neck, a senior police official told AFP.

The 24-year-old male perpetrator, an unemployed law-school graduate, attacked the 47-year-old guard with a knife after the guard questioned his reasons for going into Al-Qiddisain Church.

The guard, with the help of others, was able to subdue the man, who was then taken into custody for questioning by the police.

The police are still checking the background of the assailant, as well as his motives, and did not want to give other details, apart from the man’s religion and the fact that he did not have anything else harmful or illegal in his possession, according to the Egypt Independent, quoting a statement from the Egyptian interior ministry.

At least 21 people were killed and 70 hurt in a bomb attack outside the same church during a New Year’s Eve service on 1 January 2011.

Threat of further attacks

This latest incident came days after Egypt’s Christian leaders – Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant – said they were suspending some activities, such as conferences and religious trips, for security reasons.

The Islamic State group has killed dozens of Coptic Christians in church bombings and shootings since December, and threatened further attacks.

In May, 29 Copts were killed by IS militants as they travelled on a bus to a monastery in Minya.

Three IS suicide bombings targeting churches killed dozens more Christians in December and April.