The Egyptian Interior Ministry said Thursday that security forces have killed eight militants and detained four more who planned attacks on Coptic Christians during the upcoming holiday season.
In a statement, the ministry said the 12 belonged to "Hasm," an armed faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo considers a terrorist organization.
It said two of the eight killed were separately shot dead after they opened fire on security forces storming two residences in Cairo. The remaining six were killed in a shootout as they tried to flee the capital.
Egypt’s Christian minority has increasingly been targeted in recent years by militants including ISIS, which is waging an insurgency in the north of the remote Sinai Peninsula.