Burning of Christian properties in Esna, Upper Egypt

Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:23pm GMT  "Google Translation"

(Reuters) - witnesses said that unknown set fire on Sunday in the property of Christians in the city lock southern Egypt a few days after the arrest of two young Christians suspected of having a sexual relationship with a Muslim girl.

Security sources said that police arrested at least seven Muslims suspected of having set fire to the property of Christians.

A witness said that the fire was ignited about two o'clock in 13 shops owned by Christians in the city center and in a private car belongs to a Christian governmewnt employee and large motorcycle belongs to a Christian.

He added that anti-riot forces surrounded the area and imposed a strict security measures also deployed in the rest of district, which is one of the cities of Qena, which lies on the Cairo about 600 kilometers.

Security sources said that dozens of people threw balls of flame Saturday evening at the Church of the Virgin Mary in the city as they tried to break the door and storm the church.

A source said: "It seems they want to set fire to a church after failing to set it on fire by throwing the balls of flame."

He added that police forces for securing the church thwarted attempt intrusion.

Security sources said that the events of Saturday night started after a Christian merchant and his son stopped 2 veiled Muslim women and asked them to produce their identity cards after they claimed that the policemen.

A source said that a relative to the veiled women was walking behind who identified the two Christians who said they were looking for a stolen mobile phone.  The source added that a fight broke out, which led the police to the five, escorted then to police station who set free the two veiled Muslim women.