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Muslim, Christian violence claims 12 lives

Violence triggered by rumours of a Muslim-Christian interfaith romance has claimed 12 lives and over 100 injured in the Egyptian capital, with mobs setting fire two churches in one of the worst communal clashes rocking the country in recent times.

world Updated: May 09, 2011 00:00 IST

Violence triggered by rumours of a Muslim-Christian interfaith romance has claimed 12 lives and over 100 injured in the Egyptian capital, with mobs setting fire two churches in one of the worst communal clashes rocking the country in recent times.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf cancelled his visit to Bahrain and UAE, calling for an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the Muslim-Christian violence, state news agency said.

Meanwhile, Egypt's military rulers said, that 190 people arrested in connection with deadly riots will face military trial.

Sharaf had called the meeting to discuss "the regrettable events in Imbaba", Ahmed al-Saman, a cabinet spokesman was quoted as saying by MENA news agency.

There are a number of versions of the story of how the clashed erupted, but all of them include Coptic woman. The first story is that a Coptic woman married a Muslim man and was taken to the church to be preached and convinced to leave her husband. Her family then opened fire at members of her husband's family outside the church when they went to retrieve her.

The second version is that a Coptic woman was imprisoned in the church against her will after declaring she converted to Islam.

The unconfirmed reports, prompted a mob to march towards the Saint Menas Church in the Imbaba locality, leading to communal clashes, that claimed 12 lives.

Shooting across the neighborhood took place with people on rooftops firing into the crowd. The mob fired bombs at homes, shops and the church, setting its facade on fire. Another nearby church was attacked by the mob in the locality, as the army and police fired tear gas shells to disperse it.