CAIRO, (Reuters) – At least 24 people were injured in northern Egypt in fighting between Christians and Muslims over land, officials told state media on Saturday.
Fires were started during the fighting between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Marsa Matrouh governorate after Christian villagers built a fence around land next to a church-run building, the state news agency MENA reported. “Security was able to control fires that erupted in three homes and two cars,” state governor Ahmed Hussein told Egyptian television.
Hussein Fekry, head of security at the governorate, said Muslim residents of the village objected to the fence which blocked a main road, MENA reported.
Police surrounded the area where the fighting broke out and the Marsa Matrouh governor asked the priest of El Shahedeen church to have the fence removed, MENA said.
Relations between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians, mainly Copts, are usually calm but can become strained and sometimes erupt into violence over issues such as inter-faith relationships and land.
Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s roughly 78 million people. The rest are mostly Sunni Muslim.