Security heightened around Aswan church; more violence feared

Aswan authorities heightened security around the Mar Girgis Church in Kom Ombo on Thursday, fearing renewed clashes with protesters who had attacked the church after a Muslim woman disappeared.

Security chief Hassan Abdel Hay deployed Central Security Forces and 20 CSF trucks.

The clashes began Thursday evening and continued until Friday morning. Eleven police officers were injured, and three cars were damaged, including an armored police vehicle. The police arrested four rioters and seized Molotov cocktails.

The violence started when a 36-year-old teacher disappeared four days ago, and local residents blamed the church for her disappearance. Hay said they accused Christians of kidnapping the woman to force her to convert. He added that a team was formed to search for the woman.

Megla’a Habib, the church’s spokesperson in Aswan, said the Muslim teacher was friend with a Christian teacher at the school, which led to speculation that she went missing pursuant to a forced conversion.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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