Egypt’s general prosecution is investigating the murder of two Copts by a police sergeant who was guarding a church in Upper Egypt’s Minya this week.
In a statement, the prosecution a father and his adult son, identified as Emad Kamal and David Emad Kamal, were both shot by a police sergeant assigned to guard the Church of Nahdet El-Qadasa.
The statement said the Kamals were killed due to a “verbal altercation.”
The prosecution’s statement is the first acknowledgement of the killings by the state since Archbishop Makarios of Minya released a statement on Wednesday.
According to the statement by the vocal head of the local diocese, police sergeant Rabie Mostafa Khalifa killed the Kamals, who were removing debris next to the church, due to a “conflict.”
In a series of tweets that followed, he called for an intervention by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, describing the incident as one which is “more dangerous than [that of] Saint Samuel Monastery,” referencing a terrorist attack in which armed men killed seven Copts on their way back from the monastery in November.
“Saint Samuel….was carried out by enemies of all of us. Yesterday’s attack was one carried out by a member of the interior ministry…someone who is assigned to guard people and institutions,” he wrote.
Coptic Christians make up around 10 to 15 percent of Egypt's 104 million-strong population.
Coptic churches and other targets have been the target of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years, leaving dozens dead.