Coptic Priest Murdered in Sinai, Egypt

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Egyptian Christians are grieving the murder of a Coptic priest in Northern Sinai.

Islamic gunmen riding in an SUV pulled beside a vehicle driven by 39-year-old Father Mina Aboud Sharobeel and opened fire.

They reportedly shot Father Mina in the right side of his head, dragged him from his vehicle, and fled in his in car. Witnesses say the priest had just finished some afternoon shopping.

The killing occurred Saturday in the town of El Arish, near the Gaza border.

The priest's murder came after Muslim Brotherhood supporters criticized Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II for backing the military's removal of President Mohammed Morsi from power July 3.

Christians fear they are being targeted for attack as many Morsi supporters blame them for the recent turn of events in the country.

While Father Mina was the first Christian leader killed by militant Islamists since the overthrow of Morsi, other Christians have reportedly died in attacks in Upper Egypt.

A country contact for The Voice for The Martyrs reports nine Christians died in violence in the Upper Egyptian village of Al Dabaa, near Luxor. Christian homes and shops were looted and burned and at least one church building was destroyed.

Also, the source reported Christians were attacked in Dalga and Der Mawas villages in Menia city, and at least three churches have been burned in various locations.

"The army and the police forces are working so hard to protect Egyptians everywhere in Egypt, especially in the Upper Egypt area," the VOM country contact said.

VOM and Egyptian Christians ask for "prayers of protection for all Egyptians in this very hard time and protection for Christian families in Upper Egypt."

Two years ago, another Coptic priest, Father Daoud Boutros, was murdered in southern Egypt during scuffle with Muslim shop owners.  

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