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Official: 5 killed as Muslims, Christians clash in Egypt

A portrait of late Coptic Pope Shenuda above a burnt-out car following sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims.

Story highlights

  • Official: At least five people die as clashes break out in Qalyubia province, north of Cairo
  • Muslims are angry because Coptic Christians drew crosses on a Muslim school, he says
  • Tensions between Egypt's Muslim majority and Christian minority are high

At least five people have been killed and five more injured after clashes between Christians and Muslims in Egypt's Qalyubia province, a spokesman for Egypt's health ministry said.

The violence in the city of Khosous, north of Cairo, broke out after Coptic Christians drew crosses on the walls of a Muslim school, angering members of the Muslim community, said spokesman Ahmed Osman.

Some of those caught in the clashes pulled out weapons and live ammunition.

The alleged perpetrators and other Christians took shelter inside a Coptic church, Osman said. Angry members of the Muslim community tried to storm the building, but security forces arrived in time to prevent them.

Tensions between Egypt's Christians and the Muslim majority are heightened.

The Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years.

The bombing of a major church in Alexandria in January 2011 left at least 21 people dead, and at least 25 Coptic Christians and their supporters were killed in clashes with the army in October. That incident was the bloodiest in Egypt since its revolution in February.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Egypt's population as of 2010 included an estimated 77 million Muslims and 4 million Coptic Christians.