Tuesday’s papers: Imbaba violence arrests, Copts’ protests against sectarian attacks

The escalating tension between Muslims and Copts continues to dominate today’s headlines of both state-run and independent newspapers.

Al-Gomhurriya writes that security apparatus in collaboration with the Egyptian Armed Forces arrested 23 suspects in Saturday’s sectarian violence erupted in Imbaba, leaving 12 dead and 240 injured.

The paper adds more details, reporting that the arrests included the two main suspects incident: 31-year-old driver Ali Yassin Sabat, who is accused of claiming that his wife was detained inside the church for converting to Islam and the Coptic owner of the coffee shop facing the church who allegedly initiated the shooting.

On Saturday, fierce clashes broke out between Muslims and Copts after Salafis congregated in Saint Mina church in Imbaba to release a Christian woman who allegedly was held inside for converting to Islam. Later, violence escalated in the same district after the two groups exchanged gunfire and The Virgin Mary church and several buildings nearby were set on fire.

Reporting on the same issue, the privately-owned Al-Shorouk states that hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of the Egyptian state television building on Monday demanding the prosecution of those who ignited the sectarian strife.

The independent paper quotes one of the priests who participated in the protest as saying that what happened in Imbaba is an extension to the same policy adopted in the prior sectarian incidents in the town of Afteh, located in the Helwan governorate.

The priest also accused Salafi sheikhs by urging Muslims on killing Copts and demolishing churches through false allegations.

The state-run paper Al-Ahram also covers the meeting between Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and a number of the cabinet ministers who discussed the latest internal events in the country and their impact on Egypt’s political and economic future.

Ending sectarian strife, strengthening security and discussing the role of media and its influence on public opinion were among the top issues addressed during the meeting, Al-Ahram reports. 

The newspaper writes that the military aborted Christian protesters’ attempt to storm into the state TV building Maspero yesterday. It reports that demonstrators damaged the glass front of the building by throwing rocks and bottles. In addition, minor clashes erupted between Muslims and Copts, which resulted in some injuries before the military dispersed them.   

Meanwhile, the headline of Al-Akhbar's front page reads: "Extending the detention of Alaa and Gamal Mubarak for 15 days." The state-owned paper reports that Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has ordered the detention of Mubarak’s sons for a further 15 days pending investigation for the third time.

Both Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were arrested over accusations of illegal accumulation of wealth and involvement in Egypt’s debt payment programs. According to the Al-Akhbar report, the prosecution is also investigating allegations that they received commissions for exporting gas to Israel and purchasing lands and real estates at very low prices.

Al-Ahram’s front page features a report on the rise of the benchmark EGX30 by 1.14 percent on Monday at 4934.23 points. On Sunday, Egypt stock exchange market has witnessed a sharp drop at 4878.41 points, which is considered the lowest in almost two years, due to the violence in Imbaba.

The paper also quotes Mohamed Abdel Salam, head of Egypt’s stock exchange, as saying that precautionary measures imposed on trading during the day will be abolished after a month in an effort to boost the country’s economy.      

Egypt's papers: 
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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