Two churches were badly damaged in the Upper Egyptian town of Mallawi on Friday amidst ongoing violence that escalated significantly on Wednesday.
Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi attacked an Evangelical church in the town, located in the Minya governorate Thursday, reportedly completely burning it out, while a nearby Catholic church also sustained significant damage.
Local residents said the attacks came in a security vacuum, as many Christians in Mallawi fled to neighbourhing villages for safety. Others, fearing armed men roaming the streets, remained in their homes going into Friday evening.
There were attempts to storm a Coptic Orthodox church in the same town on Wednesday, but residents were able to rush to the site in time to prevent significant damage.
A museum in Mallawi, home to 1,089 antiquities, was also attacked and looted on Wednesday in the absence of security.
A total of 1,050 of those antiquities, according to Egyptologist Monica Hanna, were stolen. The 49 remaining pieces, too large to move and included sarcophagi, were badly damaged and burnt.
The museum was home to ancient artifacts from the middle and late periods of ancient Egypt, and included pieces such as animal mummies and statues of ancient Egyptian gods.
Churches across Egypt continue to be attacked as protests calling for the return of Morsi ensue, many times occurring in the absence of police forces to secure the buildings and the stores and homes of local Christians.
Numerous reports indicate Christian communities in Minya have been significantly affected by the unrest.