Media Production City Violence | 2 Killed in Separate Attacks

Eleven people were arrested in connection with last week’s violence against Coptic Christians in Minya. The accused were ordered held for fifteen days pending investigations. A body was found with a bullet wound in the head, probably related to the prior clashes. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party condemned last week’s attacks, blaming Islamists but also faulting the government for failing to protect Christians. In the statement, the party said, “The state and its relevant institutions must prosecute the perpetrators of acts of sectarian violence as well as those involved in incitement to this violence.” Detentions were also ordered for 36 people involved in the assault on the Media Production City on Friday.

An eleven-year-old girl, Jessica Boulos, was shot and killed by unknown assailants in the Ain Shams section of Cairo. Boulos, a Protestant Christian, was on her way home from a church event. The same day, a Coptic Christian family was attacked in a grocery store in Sohag. The seventy-five-year-old patriarch was killed, his son was kidnapped, and two others were wounded. Milad Ebeed, the kidnapped victim, was released after his family paid a ransom.

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with senior Egyptian officials, including General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei, and Prime Minister Hazem al-Bablawi. The senators, sent by U.S. President Barack Obama but speaking for themselves, expressed concern about the Egyptian political situation and urged a negotiated end to the crisis. They called on Islamists to renounce violence and to relinquish any claims to deposed President Muhammad Morsi’s legitimacy, and they insisted that the military-backed government take steps to include Islamists in the political process moving forward. On their trip, the American delegation also met with Islamist representatives, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The senators took the notable step of calling the events of July 3 a “coup”—an act thus far avoided by American policymakers—drawing a negative reaction from the Egyptian government. McCain said, “These folks are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed,” and Graham added later, “I think [Egypt] is going to fail if something doesn’t change.”

Egyptian responses to the trip were mostly negative, leaving faint hope for a negotiated solution. Egyptian President Adly Mansour called McCain’s comments “unacceptable interference in internal policies,” and his spokesman, Ahmed al-Musalamani, claimed that “foreign pressure” had “exceeded international standards.” The largest newspaper in Egypt, the state-run Al-Ahram, reported that Musalamani said McCain was “distorting facts” and that his “clumsy statements are unacceptable.” Al-Ahram also reported that the foreign ministry was “dismayed” by the senators’ remarks and that the government was preparing an official response.

Another attack on a police station in Arish resulted in no casulaties.