QUENA... WORLD NEWS
20 - April - 2009 / 7:10:40 pm
QENA, Egypt (AFP) --
Muslim gunmen shot dead two Coptic Christians as they left church after an Easter vigil in southern Egypt, in an apparent five-year-old vendetta, a security official said on Sunday.
A third Copt was wounded in the attack on Saturday night in Hagaza village, near the town of Qena, the official said, adding that police had identified the four assailants who fled.
"There is a vendetta between the family of the accused and the family of the victims. A member of the victims' family killed a relative of the accused in 2004," he said.
Vendettas between clans in southern Egypt often drag on for several years, at times with bloody results, despite the efforts of government-appointed mediators.
In 2002, gunmen killed 22 members of a rival clan to avenge the killing of a relative.
Copts account for an estimated six to 10 percent of Egypt's 80-million population. They complain of discrimination and have been the targets of sectarian killings and violence.
Copts and the Orthodox Christians this year marked Easter a week later than Western churches, Lebanon's Maronites and the Armenians.