Kudos to ABC News for keeping on top of a disturbing aspect of the unrest in Egypt — the targeting of Christians by Islamists furious over the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood and the military are locked in mortal battle in Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, and other centers of Egypt, but Christians across the country have come under attack from the Brotherhood and its political allies ever since the coup — and their situation is growing worse:
The Islamic supporters of Egypt’s ousted president who have been battling the military have turned their rage on members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, attacking churches, monasteries, schools, Christian owned shops as well as individuals.
Churches across the country sustained attacks for a second straight day today, according to rights groups, state media and Egyptian security forces. Individual Copts say they fear reprisal attacks, with one video purportedly showing supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi beating a Coptic taxi driver to death in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city. …
Forty churches were burned across Egypt Wednesday, according to local nongovernmental organizations and the Coptic Church’s youth group. The Egyptian military pledged to reconstruct and restore all the burned churches, state media reported.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a human rights group based in Cairo, documented additional attacks against Coptic monasteries, schools and shops, according to the group’s representative Ishaq Ibrahim, The Associated Press reported.
CNN is also covering the attacks on churches and Christians in this paroxysm of rage and hatred:
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous Christians’ homes and businesses.
Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.
Those churches reportedly set ablaze Wednesday included St. George Church in Sohag, a city south of Cairo on the Nile River.
And the new day brought new attacks. Prince Tadros Church in Fayoum, which is southwest of Cairo, was stormed and burned Thursday night, according to the official Middle East News Agency.
Meanwhile, the rage continues in Cairo. At least 17 people have been killed since protesters hit the streets today, a number that will certainly rise:
Security and health officials say at least 17 people have been killed across Egypt after tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets in defiance of a military-imposed state of emergency following bloodshed earlier this week.
Security officials say eight people were killed in the Nile Delta province of Dumyat north of Cairo and four people were killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya. The cause of their deaths was not immediately clear.
Just as in other conflicts in the region, it’s almost impossible to choose a sympathetic side — except for the Christians and other minorities taking the brunt of the anger.