Fear grows among Egypt’s Christians after a Coptic doctor was stabbed in the throat
by Loula Lahham

This is the third attack against minority Copts since the start of the year. Bassam Safouat Zaki was originally from Asyut. His murder follows that of a couple in Monufia and that of man who was attacked in broad daylight in Alexandria by a man shouting “Allah Akbar".

Cairo (AsiaNews) – In the past two weeks, several Copts have been murdered in Egypt. Even before the dust settled over the murder of a Coptic merchant in Alexandria (220 km north of Cairo) on 3 January, Egyptian security forces found the body of a Coptic doctor killed last Friday at his home, stabbed in the throat. 

Dr Bassam Safouat Zaki was general surgeon in Asyut (370 km south of Cairo). Initial findings indicate that he was stabbed in the neck, chest and back and bled to death through his mouth, nose and ears.

A few days earlier, on 5 January, security forces discovered the bodies of a Coptic couple, Gamal Sami Guirguis and Nadia Amin Guirguis, stabbed to death in their home as they slept, in Monufia Governorate, northern Egypt, about 85 km from the Egyptian capital.

Following the investigation, local law enforcement arrested some suspects but did not announce the reasons for the double murder.

Two days earlier, an Alexandria merchant had his throat cut by an alleged Islamist in the middle of the street in front of passers-by and residents of his neighbourhood. As he stabbed Youssef Lamaei, the attacker shouted “Allah Akbar". During his interrogation, he said "I told him several times not to sell the alcohol, but he did not listen to me".

These three attacks come only a month after the suicide bomber  blew himself up on 11 December against the Church of SS Peter and Paul (El-Botroseya), which is located next to see of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo. Some 29 people were killed, and dozens wounded.

"Every time I go out, I am afraid of being the next victim,” said Adel Ishak, a 30-year-old accountant who knew three of the victims of the December attack.

Still, “In the end, I am able to overcome this feeling of fear and I go to church, " said the father of one speaking to AsiaNews.