(Reuters) - A suspected suicide bomber attacked a church in Egypt’s northern city of Alexandria, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens more as Christians in the Muslim-majority country marked the New Year. Although sectarian tensions often flare, analysts said this incident was on a much bigger scale than the kind of communal violence that can erupt over issues such as building churches or relationships between men and women of the two communities.
Below is list of recent developments related to violence involving Christians in Egypt:
January 1, 2011 — A suspected suicide bomber hits a church in Alexandria, killing at least 17 and prompting Christians to take to the streets in protest. Some Christians and Muslims pelt each other with stones. Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters.
Nov 24, 2010 — Clashes between riot police and hundreds of Christians protesting after construction of a church is halted in Cairo takes a sectarian turn as dozens of Muslims join the violence. Two Christians are killed by the violence, and more than 150 people are detained.
November 1, 2010 — The Islamic State of Iraq, the al Qaeda-affiliated group which claimed responsibility for an attack on a Baghdad church, threatens attacks on the Christian church in Egypt over its treatment of women the group said the church was holding after they had converted to Islam.
April 11, 2010 — Egyptian group the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights issues a report saying the number of cases of sectarian violence rose between 2008 and 2009 and calls for the prosecution of offenders to prevent a further escalation.
January 6, 2010 — Six Christians and a Muslim policeman are killed in a drive-by shooting on the eve of the Orthodox Coptic Christmas outside a church in the southern town of Nagaa Hamady. The shooting leads to protests. Some Christian and Muslim homes and shops are set a blaze in the violence.
May 10, 2009 — A small homemade bomb explodes near a church in Cairo but no one is hurt, security sources say. The device damages a car and a second one is found and detonated by police in the same area in the northeast of the capital, sources say.
Compiled by Edmund Blair in Cairo; editing by Philippa Fletcher