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Egypt steps up security ahead of pope's visit

Associated Press logo Associated Press 25/04/2017 By HEBA AFIFY, Associated Press
People are seen through the stain glass, of the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, April 24, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) © The Associated Press People are seen through the stain glass, of the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, April 24, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt, a predominantly Muslim Arab nation where on April 9, on the Christian holy day of Palm Sunday, twin suicide bombings of Coptic churches killed 44 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO — Egypt has heightened security in the area around the Vatican residence in Cairo ahead of Pope Francis' visit this weekend, which comes weeks after suicide attacks on two churches killed dozens of people.

In Zamalek, a wealthy neighborhood on a Nile island, police have been conducting door-to-door checks, searching passers-by and instructing business owners to close their shops for the visit, which begins Friday. Parking has been prohibited on major streets close to the residence.

An official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that security forces will search for explosives in the area during the visit. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

The two-day visit will include a Mass in a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo.

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