Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Monday told a Christian victim of recent sectarian attacks in Minya governorate "not to be angered" by what happened to her, adding that those responsible would be held accountable for their actions.
For the first time since the attack last week, El-Sisi spoke publicly about the incident in which several houses belonging to Christians were burned and a woman dragged naked in public.
"When I address my speech to this woman, I don’t say this [Christian] Egyptian because we are all one," El-Sisi said during a speech to inaugurate a new housing development in Cairo. "I call on this woman not to be angered by what happened," the president added.
"We are all Egyptians who are equal in rights and duties. It is not appropriate that what happened be repeated. Whoever commits an offense will be held accountable," El-Sisi said.
A group of 300 people carrying various types of weapons attacked on 20 May seven houses owned by Christians, burgling some of them and torching others.
The sectarian attack in the village of El-Karm followed a rumour that a Muslim woman and a Christian man were involved in an affair, according to a statement from the Coptic Church on the day of the attack.
The statement also added that the woman attacked and stripped naked was the mother of the man accused of having the affair.
The incident was first reported on social media and by activists several days ago.
The Christian man who was the subject of the rumours has been forced to leave the village after receiving threats.
During the inauguration ceremony on Monday, El-Sisi, along with a number of officials including Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, handed over 1200 residential units -- marking the first two phases of the project -- to families who previously lived in informal settlements.