The homes and properties of Coptic Christians in Egypt have been attacked by radical Islamists after reports surfaced that a new church was going to be built.
According to International Christian Concern, the attacks occurred in the Sohag Governorate in Upper Egypt in the village of Manshiet El-Naghamish.
The village is populated by more than 2,000 Christians and the nearest church is more than three miles away.
The villagers decided the build a four-storey building to be used as a community centre, nursery and retirement home, prompting suspicions from local Muslims that they intended to build a church.
Christians have applied for a permit to build a church but have not yet received permission.
Samir Nashed, a Christian resident of El-Naghamish, told ICC: “On Friday [at] noon, November 25, following the Muslim prayers, a great deal of fanatic Muslim young men, some of them were carrying gas canisters and rocks while others came armed with automatic rifles, clubs, machetes and knives, they attacked Copts and Coptic-owned houses.
“The attackers cut [off] the road so that the fire trucks could not enter the village; they also cut off the water and power supply to the village.”
Four Copts were injured and a Christian-run guest house was destroyed, four Coptic-owned shops were burned and nine homes were also devastated.
Eighteen Muslims have now been arrested.