Egypt religious strife kills 12, challenges government

Sun May 8, 2011 7:57pm EDT
 

By Sarah Mikhail

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's military-led government faced a major challenge after two days of clashes between Muslims and Christians in which state media reported 12 people died and 238 were injured.

Egypt's worst sectarian strife since 13 people died on March 9 when a church was burned was triggered by rumors Christians had abducted a woman who converted to Islam.

The army said that 190 people would be tried in military courts over the violence that erupted on Saturday.

On Sunday, hundreds of young Christian men ran through central Cairo toward the main state television building calling for the removal of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who leads the military council ruling Egypt since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

A crowd of Muslim men met them and some sought to calm the Christians' anger but fights broke out and the two groups pelted each other with stones. The state news agency MENA said 42 people were injured in the fighting.

The clashes later died down, but hundreds of protesters remained in the area late into the night.

Authorities stationed military vehicles near churches in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba on Sunday after a dozen people died in clashes between Christians and Muslims there the previous day, witnesses said.

Injured Muslims and Christians being treated in hospital showed reporters small holes that looked like shotgun wounds. State media said on Sunday 12 died and 238 were wounded. Medical sources said 65 of the injured were shot.   Continued...

 
<p>A man carries a Koran and a cross during a demonstration by Egyptian Christians and Muslims shouting "Muslims and Christians hand in hand" in front of the Egyptian Television building in downtown Cairo May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh</p>