Three people including an eight-year-old girl have been killed by armed men who opened fire on a group of people leaving a wedding at a Coptic church in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
The group was targeted late on Sunday night as it emerged from the church in north Cairo’s Al-Warak neighbourhood, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said.
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It said an eight-year-old girl, a woman and a man were killed and nine others wounded in the attack.
“There were two men on a motorbike and one of them opened fire,” the ministry said.
Bishop Angelos, from the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, told Al Jazeera: “It’s terrible to see that in the light of recent attacks where Christians and Muslims are trying to get on with life, regardless of antagonism and violence, that even on a night like this, when people are trying to celebrate, people can lose loved ones.”
He said attacks against Christians have been taking place for a while, but there has been a heightening of tensions in recent months due to the political situation.
“There are still some who wrongly accuse the Christians to be responsible for the ousting of President [Mohamed Morsi],” he said.
Angelos said there is no justification for killing of an eight-year-old girl.
Egyptian Christians, the majority of whom are Copts, have been targeted since the removal of Morsi and, in particular, since an August 14 crackdown by security forces on two Cairo camps of Morsi’s Islamist supporters.
Islamists were angered by the deadly crackdown and they accuse Coptic Chrisitians of backing the coup that toppled Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood and was Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
This perception was reinforced by the appearance of Coptic Pope Tawadros II alongside army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi when he announced on television Morsi’s removal from office. Muslim leaders and other politicians were also present.
Rights groups say that Copts, who account for six to 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, have come under attack mainly in the provinces of Minya and Assiut in central Egypt.
On October 9 London-based Amnesty International said that more than 200 Christian-owned properties were attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged across the country since the August 14 crackdown against Morsi supporters in Cairo.