News / Africa

Egypt Cathedral Clashes Leave 2 Dead

Tensions Run High for Egypt's Christians, Muslimsi
April 08, 2013 4:25 PM
Tensions between Egypt's Coptic Christians and Muslims are running high following deadly clashes that began Friday and have left at least seven people dead and dozens injured. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Tensions Run High for Egypt's Christians, Muslims
VOA News
A second person has died in Egypt's capital after clashes Sunday between Christians and Muslims outside Cairo's main Coptic cathedral.

The Egyptian Health Ministry said Monday the second victim had not yet been identified.

The violence, which also wounded 89 people, erupted Sunday after a funeral for four Christians killed in clashes with Muslims in recent days in the town of Khosoos. That earlier fighting also killed a Muslim.

President Mohamed Morsi called for an investigation of Sunday's violence, saying he considered the assault on the cathedral "an attack against myself."

Egypt has been hit by frequent social and political unrest since a 2011 popular uprising that ousted longtime autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Also Sunday, Egypt's top judicial body called for the resignation of the chief prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi, in the latest sign of turmoil in the Arab world's most populous nation.

The Supreme Judicial Council issued a statement saying chief prosecutor Talaat Abdullah should ask to return to his previous job as a judge for the sake of the unity of the judiciary. Abdullah's resignation is a key demand of Egypt's mostly liberal opposition, which accuses him of unfairly pursuing charges against critics of Morsi and the president's Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Abdullah's office issued an arrest warrant for the host of a popular political satire program last month, charging him with insulting the president and Islam. After turning himself in, comedian Bassem Youssef was released on bail. The charges drew criticism from the United States, which accused the Egyptian government - a key military ally - of stifling freedom of speech.

Many judges and prosecutors demonstrated against Abdullah when he was named as chief prosecutor in December. The protests prompted him to tender his resignation but he later withdrew the offer and stayed in office.

An Egyptian appeals court tried to oust Abdullah last month, annulling the presidential decree that appointed him to the post. He also has ignored that ruling.

  • Egyptian riot police fire tear gas into the compound of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after the funeral of four Christians killed in sectarian clashes near Cairo, April 7, 2013.
  • Egyptian Christians carry the coffin of Morqos Kamal, at the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, April 7, 2013.
  • Egyptian Christians carry four coffins during a funeral service, at the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, April 7, 2013.
  • A man uses a bucket to put out a tear gas canister as Coptic Christians run inside the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral during clashes with Muslims, April 7, 2013.
  • Coptic Christians help a man who was injured by a bullet from a cartridge gun, inside the main cathedral in Cairo, during clashes with Muslims, April 7, 2013.

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