(AINA) -- According to Father Abram Fahmy, pastor of St. Simon the Tanner Monastery in Mokatam Hills, on the outskirts of Cairo, Copts were killed and injured today in a fresh attack by Muslims. It was reported the Egyptian army fired live ammunition on Copts. The attack has claimed until now the lives of 9 Copts and injured 150, 45 seriously.
Muslims threw fire balls at the Monastery from the top of the hills. Coptic youth have arrested five of them, who are now being held within the Monastery grounds, waiting to be handed over to the authorities.
Eight homes and 20 garbage recycling factories owned by Copts have been torched, as well as 30 garbage collection vehicles.
The incident started when 500 Coptic demonstrators from Manshier Nasr, also known as "Garbage City," which is near the Monastery, were on their way to join the Coptic protest near the Egyptian TV Building, to show their solidarity with the Copts of the village of Soul in Atfif, who were forcibly displaced from their village and their church torched (AINA 3-5-2011). Nearly 15,000 Muslims from the nearby area of Sayeda Aisha and Mokattam, who were armed with weapons including automatic guns, confronted the Copts.
The clashes first started with hurling of stones at the Coptic demonstrators, then Molotov Cocktails. According to eyewitnesses the Copts called the army which arrived at the scene at 15:00 with 10 tanks . At first the military stood by watching, then shot in the air, then at the Coptic side with live ammunition.
"We were at one side and the Muslim on the other, we have hundreds of injured at the Coptic side," said an eyewitness. "The Muslims were also shooting from behind the army tanks."
First-aid was given to the injured in the clinic attached to the Monastery, "But there are only 3 doctors here, not enough to look after all the injured," said the Church custodian. According to one of the doctors all injuries were caused by gun shots. The injured were transported by private persons to various hospitals around Cairo, as ambulances refused to respond to their calls.
It was reported that Muslims stood at the head of the road and any garbage collecting vehicle belonging to Copts from "Garbage City" was confiscated and the owners beaten.
Attorney Wagih Anwar Abou Saad, an eyewitness, told Free Coptic Voice the army has been firing live ammunition on the Copts since 3 PM. "The army is protecting the Muslims, who sought shelter behind the army tanks," he said.
There was a media blackout on the incident. There are no reports of any Muslim casualties.
The Coptic sit-in in front of the Egyptian TV building (AINA 3-8-2011) in Cairo has been ongoing since Saturday March 5, as the army has not yet fulfilled its promise to the Copts of handing over the torched church in the village of Soul, under the pretext that Muslim are demonstrating near the church.
By Mary Abdelmassih