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Church Attack In Egypt Leaves Four Dead

At least four people were killed in a gun attack on a church in Helwan, south of Cairo, reports say.

Two of the victims were said to be police officers.

Security forces at the Mar Mina church shot dead one gunman but it was unclear if a second gunman had escaped.

The attack comes ahead of New Year celebrations and the Coptic Christmas on 7 January. Earlier this week security services published plans to protect the festivities.

They included the deployment of rapid reaction forces and jamming equipment.

Egypt is a Muslim-majority country and its beleaguered Christian minority makes up around 10% of the population.

Most of them belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Men Arrested On 19th December Charged With Terrorism

Two men have been charged with terror offences by police investigating an alleged plot for an attack over Christmas.

Farhad Salah, 22, from Sheffield, and Andi Sami Star, 31, from Chesterfield, have been charged with engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism.

Both men will appear via video link at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Friday. The pair were among four men arrested on 19 December.

Police said a 36-year-old man, from Burngreave in Sheffield, remained in custody, while a 41-year-old man, from Meersbrook in Sheffield, was released on Saturday.

The arrests came after an investigation in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East.

Covent Garden Opera House Evacuated Over Suspicious Package

More than 2,500 people were evacuated from London’s Royal Opera House after a “suspicious package” was found.

An announcement asking the cast and opera-goers to leave the area was made “on the final chord” of Thursday’s performance of Rigoletto and cut short the curtain call.

Police were called to the Covent Garden venue at 21:39 GMT and later deemed the package safe. The evacuation was described as “orderly” and “calm” on social media.

Michael Fabiano, who plays the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, tweeted: “There was an orderly evacuation immediately on the final chord due to a ‘fire emergency’ which later matured into a bomb scare. “I was able to greet most of the public in my full costume in Covent Garden.”

One guest described the evacuation as an “unexpected drama added to an already brilliant Rigoletto”, while another praised the “calm and professional” operation.

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Woman Dies After Stabbing Attack In Aldi

A woman who was stabbed to death in an Aldi supermarket was working in the store at the time, the town’s mayor has said.

The 30-year-old was attacked in the store in Skipton, North Yorkshire, at about 15:30 GMT on Thursday. Customers and colleagues helped by pinning down the attacker before police arrived. A 44-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Skipton Mayor Andy Rankine said the whole town was in shock over the death. Mr Rankine said: “Skipton is a small but close-knit community where most people know each other. “We are in shock about the sad events of yesterday where a store worker was murdered whilst going about her duties.”

People have left messages on a community Facebook page, saying the married victim was a mother and describing her as a “bubbly, lovely girl”. Another customer said she had seen the Aldi employee earlier that day wearing a Christmas jumper on shift.

Flowers have been left in the supermarket car park and two friends of the woman, pushing small children in buggies, described their friend as “a truly lovely woman and very popular”. They said no-one had anything bad to say about her and they were “simply devastated”.
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Violence In Mexico On Rise As Six Bodies Found Hanging From Bridges

The bodies of six men have been found hanging from three different bridges in a region of Mexico popular with foreign tourists, authorities say.

Police said the bodies were discovered on Wednesday above busy highways in Baja California Sur state. Two bodies were retrieved from each location. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Such violence, which was once rare in Mexico’s tourism hotspots, has been on the rise in recent years.

The bodies were found in the Los Cabos resort area along routes leading to international airports in La Paz, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, local prosecutors said.

The governor of the state of Baja California Sur, Carlos Mendoza Davis, said an investigation into the discoveries was under way. “I condemn these acts and any expression of violence,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “Today more than ever [Baja California Sur] must be united to overcome this regrettable situation.”

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