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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Sectarian tensions flare in Egypt
Riot police behind a burnt-out car during Saturday's violence
Saturday's violence followed the funeral of the stabbed worshipper
Muslims and Coptic Christians have clashed for a third day in Alexandria, Egypt, after a Coptic worshipper was stabbed to death in church.

The latest skirmishes broke out near one of three churches attacked by armed men on Friday, reports said.

At least one person has died in violence since the stabbing.

Egyptian officials have blamed the attacks on extremists, but Coptic Christians say the government is not doing enough to protect them.

Sunday's violence erupted shortly after a religious service ended at the Saints Church, the Associated Press news agency reported.

About 2,000 riot police cordoned off the front of the church after about 200 men left the building carrying crosses, clubs and machetes, the agency said.

A Muslim man injured in clashes the previous day has died in hospital, medical sources said.

Egypt map

Saturday's violence followed the funeral of Nushi Atta Girgis, 78, who died in one of three knife attacks on Friday.

Mourners shouted anti-government slogans as the funeral procession - attended by an estimated 3,000 people - turned into a protest outside the church where the funeral was held.

Police fired tear gas and tried to separate the groups, who threw stones and attacked each other with sticks. At least 15 people were arrested and 22 injured.

Discrimination complaints

The government has said a "deranged" man was arrested for carrying out all the attacks at the three churches, but some Copts believe they were carried out simultaneously as part of an anti-Christian plot by extremist Muslims.

A judge has remanded the arrested man, Mahmoud Salah-Eddin Abdel-Raziq, 25, in custody.

Coptic Christians make up 10% of the Egyptian population and have complained of harassment and discrimination.

Some Copts argue that previous attacks on them have gone unpunished or have drawn light sentences.

Most Christians in Egypt are Copts - Christians descended from the ancient Egyptians.

Their church split from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in 451AD because of a theological dispute over the nature of Christ, but is now, on most issues, doctrinally similar to the Eastern Orthodox church.

Copts and Eastern Orthodox churches will mark Easter next Sunday.

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