EGYPT: Muslims attack two Coptic families, 11 killed

Egypt MapOn Sunday 30 January militant Muslims exploited the chaos in Egypt to slaughter eleven Coptic Christians in al Minya Province.

Four others were seriously injured by the two Islamist groups, which descended on the roofs of houses owned by two Coptic families in the village of Sharona, about 200km south of Cairo. The attackers were helped by Muslim neighbours of the victims. News of the brutal massacre has just emerged from Upper Egypt with the return of internet connection, after a week of blackout by the Egyptian regime.

Anba Agathon, Bishop of Maghagha, told Coptic activist Dr Mona Roman in a televised interview on Al-Karma TV that the killers are neighbours of the dead Copts. They seized the opportunity of the current mayhem in Egypt and the absence of police protection to carry out the slaughter.

Bishop Agathon went to Maghagha General Hospital to visit the four injured Copts, who escaped death despite being shot. They told him that they recognised the main attackers, as they come from the same village, and they gave the Bishop details of what happened.

“The two families were staying in their homes with their doors locked,” said Bishop Agathon, “when suddenly the Islamists descended on them, killing eleven and leaving for dead four other family members. In addition, they looted everything that was in the two houses, including money, furniture and electrical equipment. They also looted livestock and grain.”

According to the Bishop, the first group was led by Ibrahim Hamdy Ibrahim, who was joined by a gang of masked assailants. The armed men accessed the roof of the first house through the roof of a Muslim neighbour, and killed Joseph Waheeb Massoud, his wife Samah, his daughter Christine (15) and son Fady Youssef (8). Another group led by Yasser Essam Khaled and several masked men simultaneously accessed another house of through the roof of a Muslim neighbour, and shot dead Saleeb Ayad Mayez, his wife Zakia, his son Joseph (4), daughter Justina (3), his sister Amgad (23), mother Zakia and Ms Saniora Fahim.

The police in Minya were called and they transferred the bodies by ambulance to Maghagha Hospital. The Bishop called on the police to arrest the perpetrators immediately, as everyone knows they are neighbours of the victims. He said, “The massacre has nothing to do with the mayhem in Egypt, but the murderers took advantage of the lack of police protection and thought they could commit their crime and no one would notice.”

Coptic activist Dr. Hanna Hanna views the Mubarak era with its policy of impunity to be the cause of Copts being targeted. “Why have those Islamists chosen those two Coptic families and not Muslim ones to slaughter and rob? I believe it is because they know that with Copts they can literally get away with murder.” (Assyrian International News Agency, Australian Coptic Association/Peter Tadros)