Clashes erupt after Egypt fatal Copt shooting

Clashes broke out in southern Egypt between Christian Copts and police after a drive-by shooting.

Clashes erupt after Egypt fatal Copt shooting

Police used teargas and fired into the air to disperse Coptic Christians protesting a drive-by shooting in front of a church on Thursday in which six Copts and a Muslim policeman were killed.

Thursday's clashes erupted outside a hospital morgue where the bodies of the six Christians killed the previous day were kept, with protesters hurling stones at law enforcing agents and police firing tear gas, the official said.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said the attack Wednesday just before midnight was suspected as retaliation for the November rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man in the same town.

The shooting happened in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hamady after midnight mass on Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on Jan. 7. Another nine Copts -- Egyptian Christians -- were wounded, the interior ministry said.

Police clashed with more than 1,000 people in front of the church, witnesses said. Protesters smashed the windows of two shops owned by Muslims before police herded the crowd into the church grounds.

The gunman fired on Christians in a shopping area at 11:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) on Wednesday, killing two, before going to the church where, accompanied by other men, he opened fire again from inside a car, killing the others, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A preliminary investigation suggested the gunman was a Muslim criminal known to police, the ministry said. The shooting was related to the alleged rape of an 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian more than a month earlier, it added.

The priest of the church where the incident happened told Reuters, "this accident is a result of hard feelings between Muslims and Christians over the last month after the rumour of a rape of a Muslim woman by a Christian man."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ocak 2010, 16:24