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Coptic Priest Shot Dead In Egypt

The Coptic cleric's killing comes against a backdrop of mounting bloodshed between supporters of ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi and the military that displaced him.
Egyptian security sources say a Coptic priest was killed in the Sinai Peninsula when gunmen opened fire on him while driving by on a motorbike.

The priest, 39-year-old Mina Aboud Sharween, was shot dead in Northern Sinai's provincial capital, El Arish.

The incident, which came just days since the military overthrow of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi, has threatened to enflame sectarian tensions.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has strongly criticized Coptic Pope Tawadros, spiritual leader of Egypt's estimated 8 million Christians, for supporting the removal of the president by the military.

The Coptic pope also provoked criticism for attending the announcement by armed forces commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that he was suspending the constitution.

The July 6 attack came a day after five police offers were killed in El Arish.

Meanwhile, dozens of Egyptians were reported killed in skirmishes between pro- and anti-Morsi crowds in Cairo and Alexandria on July 5.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa