Egypt says it thwarted attacks on Copts

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Egyptian police have killed eight suspected Islamist militants in shootouts in and around Cairo, the interior ministry said Thursday.

It said those killed belonged to the Hasm group, believed to be a breakaway faction of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and added that four others were arrested in a raid on hideout in the capital.

The operations in Cairo and the capital's Giza district were based on intelligence of planned attacks during celebrations for Coptic Christmas, which is marked on January 7, the ministry said in a statement.

It did not give dates for the operations.

Hasm group has claimed deadly attacks on security forces as well as assassination attempts targeting a pro-government Muslim cleric and Egypt's deputy prosecutor general.

Young Egyptian Copt loses his life defending Muslim woman from thief

Egypt has launched a crackdown on Islamists following the 2013 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, who was a senior Brotherhood figure.

Coptic Christians, who account for around 10 percent of Egypt's 96-million population, have been a key target of ISIS group.

The armed forces launched a nationwide offensive in February 2018 against IS, especially in the Sinai Peninsula where the group has waged a deadly insurgency since Morsi's fall.

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