Mentally ill attacker kills Copt at church in Alexandria
Egypt, Politics, 4/15/2006
An Egyptian Coptic citizen was killed and five others were wounded during an attack by an individual at two churches in the city of Alexandria yesterday. The individual was arrested when he attempted to attack worshippers at a third church.
A statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior said that an individual attacked three worshipers with a knife at the Mar Girgis Church in the Hadra area of the city of Alexandria. He escaped the church and attacked three other individuals at the El-Qidiseen Churche in Bab El-Sharq district, also in Alexandria. The individual was pursued and arrested when he attempted to enter a third church in the same area.
The statement added that the attacks by the individual led to the wounding of 6 persons, one of whom died of his wounds. The remaining victims were transferred to hospital for treatment. Investigations revealed that the accused's name is Mahmoud Salah El-din Abd El-Razak, is employed at a confectionary in the El-Hadra district of Alexandria, and suffers from mental illness. The Governor of Alexandria, Abd El-Salam Mahgoub, asserted that this was single act committed by a deranged person who had previously been treated at psychiatric institutions in Cairo and Alexandria.
Investigating authorities discovered health certificates issued by psychiatrists at the accussed's home dated 8 March 2002 and indicating that he suffered from schizophrenia and had been treated on an irregular basis.
Furthermore, he had been fired from the Reserve Officers' College, a military training institute, for reasons of mental illness and later worked at a confectionary near his residence.
A number of victims indicated that the perpetrator was in a state of intense rage and yelled out incomprehensible phrases and curses.
The Prosecutor-General ordered an immediate investigation of the crime scene and questioning of witness and victims. Additionally, the accused was presented to the victims and witnesses for identification and the Prosecutor-General ordered that he be detained while investigations of this crime continue.
The Grand Sheikh of El-Azhar released a statement to the Egyptian people, Muslims and Copts, affirming their fraternal coexistence and the spirit of partnership and cooperation between all members of Egyptian society across the ages. The Grand Sheikh called on all Egyptians to hold fast to their heritage of understanding, freedom of religion and tolerance that has always characterized the Egyptian people, warning, at the same time, against being entrapped by attempts to threaten the security of the nation, and the national unity of its sons.
The Minister of Islamic Endowments, Mohamed Zaqzouq, stated that Islam was against attacks on individuals no matter the reason, and that that this attack on innocent individuals was a crime repudiated by Islam, adding that the perpetrator must be tried and sentenced to a deterrent punishment.
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