One killed in attack on funeral

Hundreds of Egyptian Christians were besieged inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night after a mob, reportedly with the help of security forces, launched an attack on worshippers.

One person died and 84 were injured during the attack, which began after a funeral mass for five Copts who were killed in sectarian violence on Saturday, in which a Muslim man also died.

Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian blogger at the funeral, said he saw people being showered with broken bottles from the roof of a block of flats. After being attacked, he said, the people “started racing out of the side street and destroying the nearby cars”.

Last night Egypt’s President Morsi issued a statement, saying he had spoken to Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II and given

“I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”

In a statement following the attack General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said:

“While the Arab Spring and uprising in Tahrir Square were expected to bring about a fresh start for Egypt, the only true difference is that the situation seems to have become progressively worse for many millions of Egyptian citizens.

“Today, Egypt saw an unprecedented attack on the See of the Pope of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo, by mobs, with the police arriving far too late and doing very little, if anything at all, to prevent them.”

A reported 100,000 Christians left Egypt last year following the overthrow of President Mubarak in the January 25 Revolution.