January 11, 2011
A gunman who opened fire on a train Jan. 11 in southern Egypt, killing one and wounding five, was an off-duty policeman, the Egyptian Interior Ministry stated, AP reported. A 71-year-old man was killed, and the man’s wife and three other women were among the wounded; all of the victims are Christian. The shooter was identified as Amer Ashour Abdel-Zaher, and the motive for the attack is not yet known. Abdel-Zaher, a Muslim, was on his way to work when he boarded the train in Samalout, Minya province, and opened fire with a handgun. He was arrested nearby at his home after fleeing the scene and is being questioned, the ministry said.
Violence comes less than two weeks after a church was bombed
CAIRO — One Egyptian Christian was shot dead on a train on Tuesday and at least three others were injured, medical and security sources said, less than two weeks after a church was bombed in Egypt’s deadliest sectarian attack in years.
It was not immediately clear if the shooting incident was religiously motivated.
Mariam Salah, a doctor at a hospital in southern Egypt, said the institute was treating five injured Christians. She said one of them told her a sixth Christian was shot dead.
A security source confirmed one had been shot dead but said three were wounded.
The latest violence comes as Egypt dismissed Pope Benedict’s call for more protection of Christian minorities as “unacceptable interference” on Tuesday. In response, Egypt summoned its Vatican ambassador back to Cairo for consultation.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church on Monday condemned attacks on churches that killed dozens of people in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, saying they showed the need to adopt effective measures to protect religious minorities.
“Egypt asked its ambassador in the Vatican to come to Cairo for consultation after the Vatican’s new statements that touch on Egyptian affairs and which Egypt considers an unacceptable interference in its internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“Cairo is keen to communicate with the Vatican after its statements following the terrorist incident in Alexandria that took place earlier this month”.
A New Year bombing outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria left 23 people dead and dozens injured and prompted demonstrations by both Christians and Muslims.
Egyptian officials insist they are capable of protecting all citizens and said there are indications that “foreign elements” were behind the Jan. 1 blast. An Iraqi group linked to al Qaeda threatened in November to attack Egyptian Christians.