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Two Christians killed in New Year attack on Egypt liquor store

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Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

A gunman killed two Copts celebrating the New Year in an Egyptian alcohol shop early on Monday, judicial and security sources said, the latest deadly violence against the Christian minority.

The shooting came just three days after a gunman, identified as a wanted jihadist, killed nine people in an attack on a church south of the capital.

An assailant rode up in the back of a motorcycle taxi and opened fire on the liquor store in Cairo’s twin city Giza at around 1:30 am (2330 GMT Sunday), when the streets were still bustling with New Year revellers, the sources said.

The store’s Coptic owner survived but two of his friends who were celebrating with him were killed.

Police are still investigating the motive of the attack, the sources said.

Alcohol consumption is forbidden by Islam and liquor stores, most of which are run by Copts, have come under attack in the past by hardline Muslims who believe they should be banned.

On January 2 last year, a Muslim slit the throat of a Coptic liquor store owner in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.

The assailant was sentenced to death after telling the court that he would kill all alcohol sellers if he could.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country’s 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region.

Dozens of Christians have been killed in church bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamic State group’s Egypt affiliate over the past year.

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