A crowd of protesters has burned shops owned by Coptic Christians near the ancient city of Luxor on Monday, hours before a trial for a Coptic Christian accused of blasphemy, a security official said.

The official said he saw the crowd throw petrol bombs at the shops in the village of el-Mahameed near Luxor on Monday.

He said authorities were investigating the attack.

The attack came hours before the start of a trial in Luxor for Kerolos Ghattas, a young Coptic Christian charged with contempt to Islam over a series of alleged Internet postings.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population.

Source: AP