Muslim mob sets fire to Christian homes in Egypt on Holy Thursday

A radical Muslim mob set three Christian homes on fire in the village of Kom El-Loufy in Minya Governorate of Egypt after the villagers gathered for a prayer service on Thursday, resulting in the injuring of eight Christians.

(REUTERS / Amina Ismail)People walk on a street in Egypt's Southern governorate of Minya, Egypt April 12, 2017.

In an interview with the International Christian Concern, a Christian eyewitness who spoke under condition of anonymity said they secured permission from authorities for their prayer gathering, and security forces were even dispatched to guard the mass at a local believer's home. However, the Muslim mob still attacked them after the service ended at around 10 a.m.

According to the Christian eyewitness, the mob threw stones at their homes and torched three homes owned by Christian villagers Issa Saroufim, Morris Botros, and his brother Faris Faris. One woman sustained a broken arm and another suffered a broken leg because of the attack, while six other Christian men were also injured.

Similar attacks have previously occurred in Kom El-Loufy. Last year, radical Muslims burned Christian-owned homes in the village over rumors that a church was being constructed in the area.

"All these attacks occurred despite the presence of the police in the village," said another Christian witness who also asked to speak anonymously. "There are eight big cars from the central security and more than 15 police cars. I don't know why the police haven't arrested anyone who [has] attacked us till now."

On Sunday, Egypt's interior ministry said 13 suspected terrorists who were planning attacks against Christians were arrested. The announcement comes a week after 45 people died in two Palm Sunday church bombings which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for, the Middle East Eye reports.

In a statement, the interior ministry said the "13 terrorist elements" were linked with groups planning attacks against Christian and government establishments and police in Alexandria and three other provinces in northern Egypt. Authorities also found explosives and weapons being manufactured and stored in two farms in Alexandria and Beheira.