By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– At least one Christian died and dozens were injured in clashes between Muslims and Christians in Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, police and local media said Saturday, May 18.
Police said Christian resident Sherif Sedky, whose name was also spelled as Sherif Sedki Saad, died of a heart attack during clashes, though some observers claimed he died of injuries.
Fighting reportedly erupted late Friday, May 17, when a Coptic man allegedly sexually harassed a Muslim woman in Alexandria’s el-Dekheila suburb.
Soon after, residents of the area were seen firing birdshot and throwing Molotov cocktails at one another. There were also reports that more heavy machine guns were used, but those allegations could not be confirmed independently.
Police said they beefed up security around the local church Saturday, May 18, amid fears the site would be attacked. Several churches are known to have been torched or otherwise damaged in Egypt.
Coptic Christians. who comprise roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s mainly Muslim population, have complained that attacks increased over the past two years following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.
Last month, at least four Christians and two Muslims were reportedly killed in sectarian clashes that broke out in the the town of El Khusus, north of Cairo. Additionally, two people were killed and at least 90 injured when assailants attacked mourners outside St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo where a funeral service was being held for the four Copts killed in El Khusus, Christians said.
The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church recently criticized the country’s Islamist president over his handling of recent deadly sectarian violence, giving Islamist militants a free hand.
The remarks by Pope Tawadros II have underscored rising Muslim-Christian tensions in Egypt, according to church observers.
President Mohamed Morsi previously condemned anti-Christian violence. “I consider any attack on the cathedral an attack against myself,” Morsi said after the April 7 deadly clashes outside Cairo’s main church.
(With additional reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos)
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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