- Four people are dead and 18 wounded following an attack against the Virgin
Mary Coptic Church yesterday afternoon during wedding celebrations in the Cairo
neighbourhood of Warraq. An 8-year-old girl is
among the killed. This
is the first deliberate attack on a church in the capital since 3 July, the day
when Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.
"Two men on
a motorcycle approached the building entrance and one of them opened fire with
a machine gun aiming at the crowd standing in front of the churchyard waiting
to welcome the two newly-wed," Fr Rafik
Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, told AsiaNews.
stressed that the death toll could rise in the coming hours. "The
attackers, he said, "fired from a few metres away. All the people who were
injured are in serious condition."
At present, no
one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicions run towards terrorist
groups close to the more violent wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A few minutes
before the shooting, some Islamist leaders, jailed a few months ago for
incitement to violence, posted messages on Twitter
threating such attacks.
Since July, Islamists
have organised demonstrations and protests every week, in Cairo and other
cities, that often turned violent, Fr Greiche said. "Christians," he added,"
have been the main target of such religious hatred-filled actions."
Morsi's ouster and the establishment of a transitional government by General
al-Sisi, the Christian minority has been continuously attacked by Islamist
groups and other groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The worst cases
occurred between on 14-17 August, when thousands of Islamic extremists carried
out simultaneous attacks across the country, storming 58 churches and more than
200 buildings owned by Christians.
In the following
months, groups of Salafists and members of the Jamaa al-Islamiya were holed up
in a number of villages in Upper Egypt, where they imposed Sharia.
Delga is one example.
The town, which is Minya province (Upper Egypt), remained the hands of Islamic
extremists for over two weeks.
time, Islamists seized dozens of homes from local Copts, forcing 5,000 of them
to flee. Only when the army moved in were they were able to return. (S.C.)