CAIRO — The biggest church in the Middle East opens Saturday, a landmark date in the 2,000-year-old history of Egypt’s Coptic Christians. It also could prove to be a huge target for Islamic State militants.
Egyptians leaders will dedicate the cathedral, called the Nativity of Christ, on Coptic Christmas in the new capital now under construction 28 miles east of Cairo. The cathedral will seat 8,200 worshipers who may be vulnerable to attacks from Muslim extremists.
A spate of attacks last year against Coptic Christians, which comprise around 10% of Egypt’s majority Muslim population, claimed more than 100 lives. Early last year, the Islamic State, or ISIS, said the community was among its “favorite prey.” As recently as Friday, eight Coptic Christians were gunned down in an attack at a Cairo church, and ISIS claimed responsibility.
Egyptians gather during the funeral of the victims of the attack ...