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Man sentenced to death for killing Christians

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The man is one of 3 blamed for deadly attack on Coptic Christians in January 2010
  • Sentencing comes in wake of new round of security concerns for Christians
  • A New Year's Day bombing killed 23 people at a Coptic church
  • Egypt
  • Christianity

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- A man accused of killing Christians after a Christmas mass a year ago in Egypt has been sentenced to death, Egypt's state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported Sunday.

Mohamed El-Kamouny, one of three people accused in the targeted killing of members of the Coptic Christian sect after a Christmas mass, is the first to be sentenced.

Seven people were killed -- six Copts and a Muslim guard -- in the January 2010 incident outside a church in the southern town of Naga Hammadi. Coptics observe Christmas Day on January 7.

The judge who sentenced El-Kamouny postponed the sentencing of the other two defendants until next month, Al Ahram reported.

The sentencing comes in the wake of a new round of concerns over the security of Copts in Egypt.

A New Year's Day bombing killed 23 people at the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria, Egypt, a Coptic place of worship.

Ten days later, a gunman killed a Christian man and wounded five other Christians on a train in Egypt. One of the victims said the gunman opened fire after yelling in Arabic, "There is no God but God."

The suspect was later identified as a deputy policeman.

About 9% of Egypt's 80 million residents are Coptic Christians. They base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity.

The religion is known for its rift with other Christians in the 5th century over the definition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.