The Islamic State group on Friday claimed responsibility for the attack on an Egyptian Church earlier in the day, in which nine people died, The New York Times reported.

The militant group said in a statement circulated on the messaging app Telegram that it attacked the church. It said 10 people, including the gunman, were killed. It called the victims “crusaders” and “apostates”. The statement confirmed one of the attackers had been killed.

A gunman killed at least nine people at a Coptic church in the city of Helwan, south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo, before he was shot dead. Later, the BBC reported a second attack on a shop owned by a Coptic Christian in the same area. The report said two people were killed here.

Initial reports said a second attacker had managed to flee the scene. State media later said he had been arrested.

United States President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi and told him that he “condemned the attack”. He said the US will “stand with Egypt in the face of terrorism”.

Attacks on Christians in Egypt

Christians make up about 10% of the country’s population, and most of them belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The Egyptian government had declared a three-month state of emergency in April after two explosions at Coptic churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria claimed at least 44 lives. In May, the Islamic State group had killed 29 Copts travelling to a monastery in central Egypt.