Egyptian security officials say gunmen have killed two policemen who were guarding a Coptic Christian church south of Cairo.
The attack happened Tuesday in Minya, a city on the Nile River about 250 kilometers from the capital.
On Wednesday, the Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas, a holiday that brings increased security at churches.
Christians, most of them Copts, make up 10 percent of Egypt's 87 million people. They have long complained of discrimination, and have been targeted along with their churches in multiple attacks since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Egyptian police and soldiers have also faced regular attacks from militants since Morsi was pushed from power.