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15 arrested after arson attack on Christian homes in Upper Egypt

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Jul 2016
The Amir Tadros Coptic Orthodox Church in Minya, some 250 kms south of Cairo, which was set ablaze on August 14, 2013 (AFP)

Police have arrested 15 people after an arson attack on houses belonging to Coptic Christians in an Upper Egyptian village on Saturday, a security source said.

The defendants are accused of torching five houses in Abou Yacoub village in Minya governorate on Saturday, after rumours spread that a church was being constructed in the area.

They were arrested hours later, Al-Ahram's Arabic site reported.

The incident came 20 days after similar events had taken place in Samalout, also in Minya, when locals set on fire an under-construction building out of belief that it was a church.

Sectarian-motivated attacks on Christians are common occurrences in Egypt, with Minya, home to a large number of Copts, a particular hotspot.

In May, a mob attacked Christian homes in a village in Minya and stripped an older Coptic woman naked after an alleged affair between her son and a Muslim woman.

According to unofficial estimates, Christians make up roughly 10 percent of the Egypt’s 90 million people. 

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