04/20/2009, 00.00
EGYPT
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Two Coptic Christians killed on the eve of Orthodox Pascha

The murder took place in the village of Hagaza in southern Egypt. The two were returning from celebrations at their local church. A third Christian was seriously injured. The attackers are believed to be Muslims of the area. The police state that this was a vendetta between rival clans.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two Coptic Christians have been killed, and one seriously injured on the evening of Orthodox Holy Saturday. It took place in the village of Hagaza, on the bank of the Nile in southern Egypt. The three were returning from the church at which they had participated in the vigil for Orthodox Pascha. The murder is believed to have been committed by a few Muslims from the area who opened fire on the three, and then fled.

The local police think that this is a vendetta that is part of a clan feud that has been underway for years. Sources in the security forces say that the two Christians who were killed had just recently been released from prison, where they had served a sentence of three years for the killing of a Muslim that had taken place in fighting among clans.

The investigators are now searching for a fourth person connected to the family of the Muslim who was killed years ago. Since 2002, various murders have resulted from vendettas between rival clans. One curious fact is that in most of the cases, the victims have been members of the Coptic Christian community, which represents 10% of the Egyptian population, a minority among the almost 80 million inhabitants, most of them Muslim.

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