Egyptian police clash with Coptic protesters after Minya train shooting

Egyptian police on Tuesday fired tear gas to disperse Coptic Christian demonstrators protesting the killing of a 71-year-old Coptic man by a gunman who boarded a train in Upper Egypt and opened fire on Christian commuters, eyewitness said.

A Muslim policeman began shooting passengers aboard a Cairo-Assuit train as it entered Minya's Samalut Train Station en route to the capital, killing Fathi Ghattas and injuring five other Christians. A Samalut Train Station official said the incident occurred at 5:35 PM.

Eyewitnesses told Al-Masry Al-Youm that angry Christian protesters had hurled stones at security forces stationed outside Salamut's Good Shepherd Hospital, where injured victims are currently being treated. Some of the tear gas fired by police wafted into the hospital, eyewitnesses said.

Several local Coptic clergymen attempted to calm angry protesters in an effort to avert further escalation.

Hospital Director Mariam Salah said hospital officials had admitted five people suffering injuries.

According to judicial sources, the shooter was arrested and detained at the Samalut police station where he is currently under interrogation.  

Security sources said police had also arrested the shooter’s brother, who is also a policeman at the Samalut Police Station.

The same sources reported that the assailant had checked passengers for the green cross traditionally tattooed on the wrists of Coptic Christians in Egypt. After identifying several Copts on board, the culprit killed one of them and injured five others.

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