Family accused of sparking Al-Khosous religious violence turn themselves in

Ahram Online, MENA, Monday 15 Apr 2013

Three members of Christian family accused of actions that triggered sectarian violence in Al-Khosous hand themselves over to police, citing fear for life

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Police deployed outside Baptist Church in Al-Khosous which was attacked last week during clashes (Photo: Nada El-Kouny)

The relatives of two Christians detained in Al-Khosous following an outbreak of sectarian violence have handed themselves over to police in fear of reprisal attacks, state news agency MENA has reported.

Two Christians and 30 Muslims were arrested in early April for their alleged involvement in sectarian clashes in Al-Khosous in Qalioubiya governorate.

MENA quoted a source from Qalioubiya security directorate saying Nessim Farouk, Samir Iskandar and his son Naguib had turned themselves over to the police and were being transferred to the prosecution for questioning.

Members of the Christian family are accused of shooting a Muslim man in front of their house near an Islamic institute in the city during the sectarian clashes, MENA said, citing police investigators.

Clashes started when young Christians allegedly painted offensive drawings on the wall of the Islamic institute. The violence continued for hours, with buildings set on fire and seven people killed – four Christians and two Muslims, with the religion of the seventh person unconfirmed.

Two people were killed and at least 90 injured the next day when unknown assailants attacked mourners outside St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo where a funeral service was being held for four Copts killed in Al-Khosous.

Police fired teargas over the cathedral walls and reportedly stood by as unknown assailants armed with birdshot, knives and petrol bombs attacked those inside the cathedral grounds.

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II has met with families of the Christian victims of the violence at the cathedral in Abbasiya.

Reporters were excluded from the meeting "in respect for the families' feelings."  

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