5 killed by gunshots in sectarian violence in Qalioubiya

Ahram Online, Saturday 6 Apr 2013

Different stories surface regarding whether the deadly violence in Qalioubiya was sparked by sectarianism, while health ministry source confirms to Ahram Online that five have been killed in the Saturday clashes

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Post the sectarian clashes in Dahshur on Wednesday (Photo: Ahram Gate)

Egyptian police forces announce they have contained deadly clashes in the city of Qalioubiya.

Deadly clashes erupted in the city of Qalioubiya (north of Cairo) in the early hours of Saturday, with reports indicating they might be fuelled by sectarianism.

A source from inside Egypt's health ministry told Ahram Online that five have been killed in the violence, all sustaining gunshot wounds.

Police forces arrested 15 people for allegedly inciting violence during the clashes, a source from the interior ministry told state news agency MENA.

MENA reports that the clashes erupted between a group of Muslim and Christian teenagers after the latter allegedly painted offensive drawings on the gates of an Azhar (Sunni Muslim) institute. Ahram's Arabic news website reports, however, quotes eyewitnesses that say clashes erupted due to disputes between two families, who happen to be Muslim and Christian.

An interior ministry source also says police forces are now deployed around the perimeter of the Qalioubiya Mar Girgis Church, where skirmishes occurred when Muslim protesters gathered outside.

The source added that police were able to prevent a group from setting fire to the house of a Christian who is thought to have murdered a Muslim teenager during the violence.

While the official death toll from the hospital report remains at four, Priest Sorial Younan of Mar Girgis church told Ahram's Arabic news website that eight were killed, four of which were Christians. Health ministry sources have only confirmed to Ahram Online that five have been killed and five injured.

Reports from Qalioubiya hospital state that four that were killed had gunshot wounds.

Prosecution in Qalioubiya has begun on-the-scene investigations into the incident.

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