In places such as Beni Mazar — a town on the Nile about 160 miles south of Cairo, in Minya province, which is riven by sectarian tensions — Christian residents made clear their sense of fear and anger. They said they believed Islamists had attacked the churches in retaliation for the police raids on Islamist protest camps in Cairo and also to punish Egypt’s Christian minority for its support of the July 3 coup that ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On the day of the raids, Islamists also attacked police stations across the country.Read the rest here.
But in interviews Monday and Tuesday, many residents suggested that the police had been complicit, at least through a failure to respond.
“Until now, we have not heard about any real or serious investigation,” said Mina Thabet, an activist with the Maspero Youth Union, a Christian activist group, which has charted the attacks that have taken place nationwide since Aug. 14.
Some “five or six” bearded Islamists with assault rifles broke through the evangelical church gate in Beni Mazar around midday Aug. 14, the owner of a Christian bookstore next door said in an interview this week. But he also said those Islamists worked in coordination with dozens of “thugs” who arrived in pickup trucks and didn’t look like Islamists.
The accomplices carried off thousands of dollars’ worth of computer, video and audio equipment, as well as air conditioning units, before setting the church on fire, according to the owner, who for security reasons would only permit the use of his first name, Ayman.