By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Egyptian security forces have detained several suspects in the village where a key Coptic bishop survived an assassination attempt, BosNewsLife learned Thursday, October 3.
The raid in al-Serw village in Minya province came shortly after gunmen attacked the entourage of Bishop Anba Makarios on Monday, September 30, Christians said.
He was reportedly attacked while traveling by car to offer condolences to the family of fellow Christian Karim Samir Lamaee, who was killed during recent attacks on the Egypt’s minority Christians.
As assailants opened fire on the vehicle, the driver managed to reach the home of a local Copt, where the bishop and his other priests took refuge, according to Christian rights investigators.
The suspected Islamic fighters allegedly pursued the priests and fired at the house for over an hour, damaging doors, windows, and walls.
Christians said that although police were called, they arrived 90 minutes after the gunmen had left the scene. All involved, including Bishop Makarios, were unharmed.
Police could not immediately be reached for comment.
In published remarks, Bishop Makarios called his ordeal as “an indication that while steps are being taken towards reconciliation, there are those who still want to delay us.”
He reiterated “the need for a sufficient level of law and order be restored because every Egyptian deserves to receive equal protection under that law.”
Rights activists have expressed concern about increasing Islamic attacks against Christians in Egypt, with many reportedly fleeing the country.
Coptic rights groups have urged the government to “arrest the perpetrators and bring them to speedy trial.”
Minya’s leadership described the attack as an isolated incident and not a sectarian one.
However, sectarian violence has escalated as a direct consequence of hate speech by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, who accuse the Coptic community of playing a prominent role in the removal of former President Mohammed Morsi, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group following the case.
Christian homes, businesses, and churches have been targeted, looted and destroyed, while in some villages Copts have been forced to pay a special Muslim, or jizya, tax, BosNewsLife reported earlier.
Direct threats have also been made against Coptic Pope Tawadros II and other public figures, CSW and other sources said.
“The interim government’s preoccupation with constitutional and economic matters, as well as a focus on combating Islamist extremism in the Sinai region, may have contributed to a continuing lack of adequate protection for Copts and other religious minorities, particularly in Upper Egypt,” the group commented.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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