Three Coptic brothers have been arrested on suspicion of murdering their sister, her husband and five year-old son in what seems to be a sectarian hate crime.
The couple’s six year-old daughter, Nada, was the only survivor, even though she sustained neck wounds. The outrageous murder took place in the Cairo district of Boulaq Al-Dakrour.
Salwa Atallah, 33, converted to Islam over six years ago and reportedly that’s the reason why her siblings decided to finish her off, according to initial investigations.
Over the past few years Atallah’s three brothers, two manual labourers and a driver, paid regular visits to their sister without showing any signs of hostility.
Husband, Khaled Ibrahim, was still alive when the police arrived on the crime scene. He was rushed to Boulaq Al-Dakrour Hospital where he was pronounced dead after succumbing to his fatal injuries.
However, police say he was able to give a testimony before his demise at 48.
Ibrahim said his late wife’s younger brother Momen, 22, paid them a visit and stayed till the crack of dawn, before the other two arrived to carry out their murders.
Police have given the following transcript of Ibrahim's deathbed testimony:
“I was hesitant to open the door but he [Momen] told me ‘open it I am with you’” (meaning that he's got his back) said Ibrahim.
“I went to the kitchen to bring a knife to defend myself… when I opened the door my wife started to scream.”
“Her elder brother followed her to the bedroom while Raafat [third broteher] punched me in the face and stabbed me many times.”
“Momen also snatched my knife to stabbed me… I lost control, I tried to get up more than once but I was bleeding heavily.”
“After killing my wife, Raafat brought a scarf and wrapped it around my son’s neck. He squeezed till he died.”
The three men reportedly confessed their crime upon being held captive by neighbours.
Atallah converted to Islam on 15 March, 2005.
The crime is expected to contribute to sectarian tensions, which have been rampant in the southern province of Qena since the appointment of Christian Emad Mikhail as governor.