Two Egyptian protesters shot, blast near Sinai tomb

CAIRO Sat May 14, 2011 6:46pm EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Two Egyptian protesters were shot in Cairo during Christian and Muslim demonstrations and an explosion occurred near the tomb of a prominent Muslim sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, state news agency MENA said.

A car driving on a bridge over the area where the protesters were gathered, which is in front of the state television building, fired gunshots into the crowd, wounding two people late Saturday.

The agency did not say the religion of the victims, but a security source said they were Christians. There were no further details about the Sinai blast, but both acts of violence will add pressure on Egypt's military rulers to ensure stability and security following the popular revolt that forced out President Hosni Mubarak in February. Although Muslims and Christians came together to overthrow Mubarak, interfaith tensions have since grown and 12 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in recent clashes.

Sectarian strife often flares in Egypt over conversions, family disputes and the construction of churches.

State television aired footage Sunday of fighting between what it said were Christians and unknown people, with 10 people hurt.

"Cairo's security forces have managed to arrest one of the shooters and he is currently being questioned to know who his partners are and the motives behind such violent action," MENA said.

Last Saturday, violent confrontations between some of Egypt's majority Muslims and minority Christians prompted angry protests by Egyptians from both faiths who called on army rulers to use an "iron fist" against the instigators. Egypt's interim ruling military council which took over after Mubarak stepped down on February 11 vowed Friday to use all means to crack down on what they described "deviant groups" threatening stability and security.

(Writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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