CAIRO: The Marsa Matrouh prosecution detained 30 suspects – four of which are Muslim – for 15 days pending investigations after clashes broke out between Christians and Muslims Friday, leaving 24 people injured.
The suspects are facing four charges; illegal congregation, destruction of public property, arson and assault.
Marsa Matrouh Governor Ahmed Hussein said calm has returned to the city after the intervention of a church pastor who ordered the fence that caused the clashes be torn down.
Eyewitnesses confirmed to Daily News Egypt a heavy security presence in Marsa Matrouh, adding that the area where the clashes broke out is completely cordoned off.
Last Friday, clashes broke out as Christians built a fence to connect a piece of land to a building affiliated with a church.
The area’s Muslim residents allegedly attacked the church, trapping a number of Copts inside, believing this was a step to expand the church.
Sources told Daily News Egypt that 22 of those injured have recovered and left the hospital while two are still undergoing treatment.
The Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization (EUHRO) filed a complaint to Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, calling for the trial of Sheikh Khamis Ahmed Khamis, an imam at a Marsa Matrouh mosque, for inciting sectarian strife, disturbing social peace and threatening general security.
Naguib Gobrael, head of EUHRO, told Daily News Egypt that in his Friday prayers’ speech, Khamis incited Muslims against Copts, urging them to fight against the expansion of the church.
“I call on Endowments Minister Hamdy Zaqzouq to expel the mosque’s imam, he said, adding that he will file a lawsuit against the prime minister and the Marsa Matrouh governor demanding compensation for the damages that resulted from the clashes.