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Egypt to Try 190 People for Sectarian Violence

Egyptians gather next to a building belonging to Christians that was set on fire during clashes between Muslims and Christians in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo, May 8, 2011

Egypt's military rulers said Sunday they plan to try 190 people detained in connection with sectarian violence that killed 10 people in a Cairo suburb.

The announcement that those arrested would face a military trial came after an emergency Cabinet meeting earlier in the day to discuss the events of the previous day and night.

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf canceled a tour of neighboring Gulf states and called the meeting in response to Saturday's clashes between Christians and Muslims. In addition to the 10 dead, Egypt's official news agency, MENA, said 186 people were injured.

Witnesses say Muslims converged on a Coptic church Saturday in the Cairo district of Imbaba, in response to rumors a Christian woman was being held there to prevent her from converting to Islam. Other reports said the crowd believed the woman had already converted but was being prevented from marrying a Muslim man.

Reports say members of the crowd began throwing firebombs and stones, setting some nearby buildings aflame. Security forces deployed to the scene fired shots in the air and used tear gas to separate the two sides.

Interfaith relationships are a source of tension in Egypt, where Coptic Christians comprise about 10 percent of the country's population of 80 million.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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