3 arrested in shooting of 6 Egyptians

Associated Press / January 9, 2010

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LUXOR, Egypt - The three suspects in a drive-by shooting on Christmas Eve that killed six Christians in southern Egypt gave themselves up to police yesterday after being surrounded by security forces, the state media reported.

Egyptian security forces blanketed the areas between the village of Farshout and the town of Naga Hamadi, where the shooting occurred, stopping the suspects from fleeing to the mountains, the report added.

Police discovered the car used in the attack and then surrounded dense fields of sugar cane where the suspects were believed to be hiding late Thursday.

The three men have criminal records, according to state media.

The gunmen opened fire on a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in the town of Naga Hamadi, 40 miles north of the famed ruins of Luxor on Wednesday, the day before Egypt’s orthodox Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas.

A Muslim guard was also killed and nine others were wounded; three are in serious condition.

Thousands of Christians in Naga Hamadi went on a rampage Thursday protesting the attack and perceived discrimination against their community. They clashed with police and smashed ambulance and shop windows.

Witnesses said Muslims retaliated by torching Christian homes and shops.