Copts attacked in Egypt's south over homes used as churches

Egyptian villagers have attacked and looted the properties of Coptic Christians in the southern province of Minya in protest at the use of homes and halls for worship, the region's archdiocese said Saturday (September 1st).

"Four Coptic homes were attacked Friday by residents from the village [of Demshaw Hashem] and other nearby areas," said Bishop Makarios of Minya.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the archdiocese of Minya said "extremists" had attacked the village of Demshaw Hashem because of the "existence of a church".

It said Christian residents of the village use homes and halls for prayer.

"Extremists attacked Copts, stole quantities of jewelry and money, destroyed household appliances and set fire to property," it said.

Three people including a firefighter were injured.

"There have been reports for several days about the intention of extremists to carry out the attack," it said.

A security official said 38 suspects had been arrested.

Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt's nearly 100 million people, have been targeted by a series of bloody attacks over the past two years, most claimed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

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