Crowd ransacks church in Egypt

A special forces police officer stands guard to secure the area around Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral before a Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo, in this file photo taken on January 6, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 24 December 2017
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Crowd ransacks church in Egypt

CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptians ransacked a church south of Cairo and called for it to be demolished, the region's diocese said.
The attack on the church in Atfeh, 100 km from the capital, took place on Friday after weekly Muslim prayers, the diocese said on its Facebook page.
Several churches, especially ones that have yet to be licensed by the government, have come under attack by local Muslims in the conservative south of the country.
The diocese said the Prince Tawadros church had been used for almost 15 years and had applied for a license under a law passed last year meant to ease permits for new churches.
Hundreds of people massed in front of the building, chanting “hostile” slogans and calling for the church to be demolished, it said.
“They stormed the place and destroyed what was inside it, after assaulting the Christians there,” the diocese said.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians comprise up to 10 percent of the country’s 93 million people and are the Middle East’s largest religious minority.
They have come under sectarian attacks and been targeted by militants who have killed more than 100 people in church bombings and shootings since last December.


Palestinian president ‘against’ possible new Netanyahu government

Updated 38 min 29 sec ago

Palestinian president ‘against’ possible new Netanyahu government

OSLO: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would be against a new Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, after elections left him tied with his main challenger and raised the prospect of negotiations to build a unity government.
“Our position: against Netanyahu,” Abbas said during a visit to Oslo when questioned over his preferences for a new Israeli government.