Egypt sectarian strife kills 13, challenge to army

March 10, 2011 - 0:0

CAIRO (Reuters) – Thirteen Egyptians were killed in violence between Christians and Muslims as sectarian tensions resurfaced in Cairo and a new government met for the first time Wednesday, discussing how to restore law and order.

The Health Ministry said the 13 people were killed and 140 wounded in violence Tuesday night ignited by tensions built up since an arson attack on a church south of Cairo Saturday.
The strife poses another challenge to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces as it charts Egypt's course toward elections that will return power to a civilian, elected government within six months.
The revolution that swept President Hosni Mubarak from power on February 11 was characterized by Christian-Muslim solidarity. Egyptians hoped the uprising had buried tensions that have flared up with increasing regularity in recent years.
It was not clear how many of the dead were Christian or Muslim. The trouble had started on a Cairo highway where Christians had been protesting over the arson attack on the church south of the capital in Helwan.
The protests spread elsewhere in the capital and hundreds of people faced off in the violence, hurling petrol bombs and rocks, witnesses said.