Egypt's security forces guard the road after they thwarted a suicide bomb attack outside a church a in Qalyubiyah, a governorate north of Cairo Image Credit: Rueters

Cairo: Egyptian security forces on Saturday stopped a man from blowing himself up at a church north of Cairo where a massive celebration was under way, police sources said.

Strict security on the road to the Lady Virgin Church in the area of Mosturd prevented the would-be attacker from coming too close to the place where hundreds of Coptic Christians were gathering at the annual festival, the sources added.

“His explosive belt went off while he was on the Mosturd Bridge, resulting in his instant death,” one source added, asking not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

No other casualties were reported.

Bishop Abdul Masih Basit of the Lady Virgin Church said that the attacker had dressed like a construction worker in an attempt to sneak into the gathering.

“But vigilance of security forces deployed in the area forced him to retreat, resulting in the explosion in his belt,” the cleric added in media remarks.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attempted attack.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks, mainly targeting the minority Christian community and security forces since the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following enormous protests against his rule.

The worst attack was in April last year when suicide bombers attacked two churches in the cities of Alexandria and Tanta on the Palm Sunday, killing 48 people. Daesh had claimed responsibility for the twin bombings.