- (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
A report released by Human Rights Watch on Wednesday states that attacks and acts of violence against Copts in Egypt have risen since former Egypt President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office.
The report also called on authorities to hold the perpetrators of these attacks responsible and determine whether or not police could have prevented or stopped the violence.
The report says the deadliest incident since Morsi's exit was the beating deaths of four Christian Copts on July 5. The day was particularly violent as Muslims sought to link Christians to the death of a Muslim in Naga Hassan (southern Egypt).
Three others were wounded and 24 Christian-owned properties were damaged according to the report. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that police did little to stop the 17-hour rampage that occurred after the four Copts were killed.
Human Rights Watch has recorded at least six separate attacks on Christians or Christian interests since the beginning July. They occurred in Luxor, Marsa Matrouh, Minya, North Sinai, Port Said, and Qena. In many of the incidents, witnesses told Human Rights Watch that security forces failed to take necessary action to prevent or stop the violence.
Morsi supporters burned St. George's Coptic Catholic Church and Al-Saleh Church in the village of Delga, in Minya on July 3. Eight people, both Christian and Muslim were injured according to local media reports. St. George's priest said Police and army forces did not protect the church during the attack.
Also, in separate incidents in North Sinai on in July, unidentified assailants killed three Coptic Christians, including a priest according to interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch. The report said it was unclear if the victims were targeted because of religion.
The only sectarian attack in which police intervened effectively was in Qena, on July 5 according to Human Rights Watch. Police used tear gas when Morsi supporters attacked a church, preventing the assailants from damaging the building or injuring those inside.