Egypt announced Monday that it had foiled an attack at a Coptic church in the Rafiah area of northern Sinai. A report on the BBC's Arabic news site said that the attack had been planned for the weekend, celebrated as a holiday in the Coptic church.
According to Egyptian authorities, police discovered a car bomb parked near the church, which was empty at the time. Inside the car were also weapons. A second car, which witnesses said held a number of individuals wearing black masks, was seen leaving the scene as the car bomb was discovered. As a result of the attack, security has been increased at Coptic institutions in Cairo and Alexandria, the report said.
Coptic Christians in Egypt have long complained that they are targets of Muslim terrorists, who are trying to drive them out of the country, as well as of discrimination and persecution. In 2011, 23 people were killed and 97 were injured in an attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria. The target of the bombing was a Coptic church located across the street from a large mosque, with Muslims for years pressuring the Christians to close the church down because of its proximity to the mosque.
Two weeks before the bombing an Islamist website called for attacks on a list of Egypt's churches, and included the church that was hit.