TEL AVIV — A Coptic clergyman was murdered north of Cairo Thursday by an anonymous assailant.
“The priest Samaan Shehate was attacked in the Al Salam neighborhood north of Cairo,” Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Church said in a statement. “He was transferred to a hospital where he died of his wounds.”
No further details were given about the incident or the motives behind the attack but a source within the church told Albawaba.com the priest was stabbed while visiting one of the churches north of Cairo and the assailant escaped.
The AP further reported:
Security officials say the attacker struck the priest’s head with a cleaver and fled the scene, but was later arrested. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The motive was not immediately known.
Nearly 15 million Christians live in Egypt out of a total population of nearly 104 million.
The murder of the Coptic priest adds to a string of crimes against the Christian community in Egypt in recent years. Last May, 28 Coptic Christians were murdered and 30 were wounded after masked assailants who disguised themselves as Egyptian security personnel attacked a bus of Christian pilgrims on its way to one of the monasteries south of Cairo.
In April, over 44 Christian worshippers were killed in twin suicide bombings at two Christian churches during celebrations marking the first day of Easter.