Military forces in North Sinai
Military forces in North SinaiReuters

A policeman was killed and two wounded in an explosion outside a church in Egypt on Saturday, a security source said, according to AFP.

The blast took place when security personnel were dismantling an explosive device in Nasr City on the edge of Cairo, the source said.

The incident came two days before Egypt's minority Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7.

It also comes ahead of a Christmas mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of Nativity in Egypt's New Administrative Capital, which will be attended by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Christian sites of worship across Egypt have been repeatedly targeted in attacks claimed by ISIS, prompting the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population and have been continuously targeted by jihadists in recent years.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years. Most of the attacks in the region during this time period have been claimed by the Sinai Province.

In February, Egypt launched operation “Sinai 2018” in a bid to rid the Sinai Peninsula of Islamist terrorists.

In November, an ISIS attack on three buses carrying Christian pilgrims killed seven people and wounded three others.

More than 100 Copts have been killed in jihadist attacks since December 2016.