Copts nervous after Egypt attack

Christian men clash with police for a third night as anger over deadly church bombing persists.

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    The New Year's day bombing of a church in Alexandria has left many in Egypt's Coptic Christian community frustrated and nervous, judging by the protests for the third night in a row.

    The attack was the worst in a decade and its aftermath is still being felt, with MENA, the official Egyptian news agency, reporting on Tuesday that the death toll had risen to 23.

    Young Christians began protesting in Cairo and Alexandria on Sunday, calling for more protection from the authorities.

    No clear official account has emerged of how the attack was carried out, but analysts point to a small cell, not a larger armed group like those behind the Islamist uprising that flared more than a decade ago.

    Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Cairo, says Egypt now faces an especially difficult task: how to make the country's ancient Christian minority feel secure while dealing with what is being seen as an al-Qaeda-inspired attack on its doorstep.

    There have been numerous internet threats since the New Year's attack against Coptic churches in the Netherlands and Europe, including France and Britain.

    Christians account for about 10 per cent of Egypt's population of 79 million, which is mostly Muslim.

    Religious violence is rare but disputes on issues from church building to religious conversions and divorce have grown in the last year.

    Early last year, a drive-by shooting of six Christians and a Muslim policeman at a church in southern Egypt sparked protests.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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