Egypt (AINA) — At 17:00 hours on Friday a Muslim mob attacked a Christian congregation during prayers in the church attached to the services building of the Coptic Church in the Rifeyah area of the Mediterranean seaport of Mersa Matrouh. The mob, estimated to be between 2000-3000 of Bedouins and fanatical Muslim Salafis, hurled stones at the building. Four priests, the deacons and 400 parishioners were trapped inside the building.
Rev. Matta Zakarya told activist Wagih Yacoub of Katiba-Tibeyah, an advocacy group, that after the mob hurled stones at the building, they went inside and assaulted the people, mostly families. Neither the security forces nor the fire brigades were sufficient. Only two fire brigades were available. Witnesses said the number of security forces was not enough to contain the Muslims, and tear gas was used against them.
The attack in casualties among the Copts and security forces, mostly head injuries caused by hurled bricks. The injured were treated at Matrouh Hospital. According to Rev. Matta, twenty-five persons were seriously wounded, including women and children. Eighteen houses, twenty-two shops and sixteen cars were destroyed and burnt down. “Twenty-eight people have no homes and had to seek refuge in the services building,” said Rev. Matta. Security forces enforcement from Alexandria arrived in the early hours of Saturday, and escorted the 400 Copts held in the services building to their homes. (more…)