They blame the Christian Copts for the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi.
The Blaze While most headlines from Egypt are focused on Wednesdays violent dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood supporter sit-ins latest death toll placed at 149, per the Associated Press Christians in the embattled country are facing whats being described as a black day as their churches are being attacked and torched by angry Islamists.
Supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi set fire to churches around Egypt in apparent retaliation for the police dispersing the pro-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo. According to AFP, three churches were attacked, but other outlets place the number much higher.
Egypt-watchers and reporters are using terms such as unprecedented, a sectarian catastrophe and a literal pogrom to describe the unfolding of events Wednesday. One Twitter user called it a black day in the Coptic modern history.
The Egyptian blogger The Big Pharaoh reported that the St. Theresa Church in Assiut in Upper Egypt was set ablaze and that both the St. James monastery and a Jesuit nuns school in Meniah a very old building were burned down. Churches in Arish and Ezbet el-Nakhl in Greater Cairo were also torched, The Big Pharaoh blogger reported.
I think the magnitude and geographical spread of the attacks on Christians didnt happen before since the mid ages, the blogger tweeted.
Its unclear if the attacks were orchestrated in advance, but Eric Trager, an Egypt expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy tweeted, Hideous & typical. MT @basildabh: FJP accuses Christian thugs under police of dispersing Sohag pro-Morsi dem referring to the Muslim Brotherhood linked Freedom and Justice Party.
AFP reports that attackers threw Molotov cocktails at the Coptic Christian Mar Gergiss Church in Sohag, a city with a large Christian population. Egypts MENA news agency reported that the church burned down. This is the same church where Islamists raised an Al Qaeda flag last week, as TheBlaze reported.
Security officials speaking to AFP confirmed the bloggers reports that another two churches were attacked in the Meniah province, but that partial damage resulted.
According to International Business Times, the churches attacked were the Church of Abraham and the Church of the Virgin Mary in Meniah. The outlet reported that Morsi supporters set fire to the buildings exteriors then smashed through doors. The Bon Pasteur Catholic Church and Monastery in Suez was also reportedly attacked with Molotov cocktails and the smashing of windows.
The Maspero Youth Union which represents Coptic Christians is accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of waging a war of retaliation against Christians.
Israel National News conveyed these reports of the attacks on Christians:
In Fayoum, in Upper Egypt, pro-Morsi supporters set fire to a Christian youth center located next to the Muslim youth center where they had been protesting, according to a report on Ahram Arabic cited by the BBC. Ahram Arabic also reported that pro-Morsi supporters threw fire bombs at the Al-Raey Al-Saleh Church and set three military vehicles on fire. Clashes are ongoing between protesters and military forces.
Morsi supporters stormed the Church of St. George and set it on fire as well as Coptic shops and homes:
[UPDATE] Here is a list of churches and Coptic-owned institutions in Egypt that have been burned at the hands of Islamists so far.
Watani Weekly News (h/t MZ)
- Three churches and six buildings at the monastery of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abraam in Dalga, Minya, Upper Egypt
- The church of Mar-Mina in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya
- The bishopric church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Sohag, Upper Egypt
- The church of the Holy Virgin in Nazla, Fayoum, Lower Egypt
- The Baptist church in Beni-Mazar, Minya
- Coptic-owned shops in Gumhouriya Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt
- The Good Shepherd School in Suez
- The Fransiscan School in Suez
- The Holy Bible Society in Fayoum
- The church of al-Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) in Fayoum
- The church of the Holy Virgin in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya
- The Catholic church of St Mark, Minya
- The Jesuit church in Abu-Hilal, Minya
- The church of Mar-Morqos (St Mark) and its community centre, Sohag
- 18 houses of Coptic families in Dalga, Minya, including the home of Father Angaelus Melek of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abraams
- The Evangelical church on Nassara Street in Abu-Hilal, Minya
- The church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad in Minya
- Coptic-owned shops, pharmacies, and a doctors clinic in Minya
- The Jesuit church in Minya (attacked, not burned)
- The St Fatima Basilica in Cairo (attacked, not burned)
- St Josephs School in Minya (attacked, not burned)
- The Nile boat al-Dahabiya, owned by the Evangelical Church in Minya
- Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels on Karnak Street and Cleopatra Street in Luxor (attacked and looted)
- The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Wasta (attacked)
- The church of St Michael on Nemeis Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt
- The Adventist church in Assiut; the pastor and his wife were both kidnapped
- The Greek church in Suez
- The church of Mar-Girgis in Assiut
- Coptic houses on Qulta Street in Assiut attacked
- The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Arish, North Sinai
- The church of St Dimiana and the Evangelical church in the village of Zerbi in Fayoum
- The offices of the Evangelical foundation in Minya, and those of Umm al-Nour in Beni-Mazar, Minya
- The church of Anba Antonius in Kerdassa, Giza
- The bishopric church in Etfeeh, Giza
In addition to the attacks against the Copts, their churches, businesses, and property; Egyptians were aghast at attempts by the Islamists to break into the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) in Alexandria and set it on fire. The BA security and staff confronted the assailants in the courtyard, and there was an exchange of gunfire. According to Khaled Azab, the BAs media manager, the conference hall was plundered, and a number of acquisitions went missing. The glass façade was shattered.
[UPDATE] Mohammed Abbas Gabr, a major general in the police department of Giza City Security Directorate was killed by Muslim Brotherhood thugs.
Facebook (h/t MZ)
He and his fellow officers, were defending the police station they are responsible for until they ran out of ammo, and they were over crushed by MB terrorists, stealing the ammunition , weapons, kevlar vests, and radio walkie-talkies.