CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt executed on Monday a man for killing six Christians and one Muslim in a shooting in 2010, implementing the sentence a day after at least 25 people were killed when Christians protesting about a church attack clashed with the army.
The drive-by shooting, which sparked protests at the time, occurred in the southern town of Nagaa Hamady after mass on the eve of Orthodox Coptic Christmas, which is on January 7.
The body of Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hussein, 41, also known as Hamam El Kamouny, was taken to a morgue in Alexandria after his execution for his family to collect, the state news agency MENA reported.
The shooting, which also wounded nine Copts, had sparked protests by more than 1,000 Copts from Nagaa Hamady. Muslims and Christians set fire to each others’ homes and shops in the town. The incident was linked to the suspected rape of a Muslim woman by a Christian.
Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt’s roughly 80 million people, took to the streets on Sunday after blaming Muslim radicals for partially demolishing a church in Aswan province last week. They also demanded the sacking of the province’s governor for failing to protect the building.
The protesters say they were demonstrating peacefully until thugs attacked them, drawing in military police who used what activists described as unnecessary force.
Tension between Muslims and minority Coptic Christians has simmered for years but has worsened since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, which has allowed the emergence of Salafist and other strict Islamist groups that the former president had repressed.