Coptic priest shot dead in latest Egypt violence

Attack could mark first sectarian attack since ouster of elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

By REUTERS
July 6, 2013 19:07
1 minute read.
A cross and a Koran at an anti-Morsi protest in Tahrir Square, July 4, 2013.

Christian and Muslim in Tahrir370. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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CAIRO- Gunmen shot dead a Coptic Christian priest in Egypt's lawless Northern Sinai on Saturday in what could be the first sectarian attack since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, security sources said.

At least 30 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded after Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called "Friday of Rejection" protests across the country and tried to march on the military compound where the ousted president is held.

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The priest, Mina Aboud Sharween, was attacked in the early afternoon while walking in the Masaeed area in El Arish.

The shooting in the coastal city of El Arish was one of several attacks believed to be by Islamist insurgents that included firing at four military checkpoints in the region, the sources said.

Saturday's attacks on checkpoints took place in al-Mahajer and al-Safaa in Rafah, as well as Sheikh Zuwaid and al-Kharouba.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has fiercely criticized Coptic Pope Tawadros, spiritual leader of Egypt's 8 million Christians, for giving his blessing to the removal of the president and attending the announcement by armed forces commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suspending the constitution.  

Five Egyptian police officers were gunned down in separate incidents on Friday in the North Sinai town of El-Arish, medical sources said, after Islamist gunmen killed a soldier in a separate attack in a nearby town overnight.



The police officers were shot by gunmen while they were guarding a government building, a checkpoint on the southern outskirts of the town, and the hospital, the sources said.

It was not clear whether the attacks were coordinated and in reaction to Morsi's ouster.

Troops and Morsi supporters also clashed at the other end of the peninsula, in the cities of Suez and Ismailia on the Suez Canal, witnesses and security sources said.

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