Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Yahia Al Gamal has accused the United States and Israel of fomenting religious tensions to weaken his country.
"The United States and Israel are behind the religious sedition in Egypt" as "they realise this is the only way to break up the country," the Mena news agency reported, quoting his comments on television.
"Israel is trying to do this because Egypt is the most important power in the region," he said.
At least three people were hurt Saturday during clashes between Muslims and Christians in a village in the Sohag governorate over the reported building of a church.
Egypt has been gripped by insecurity and sectarian strife since a revolt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak on February 11.
Coptic Christians, who account for up to 10 percent of Egypt's 80-million people, complain of discrimination and have been the targets of sectarian attacks.
Fierce clashes broke out on May 7 between Christians and Muslims in northwest Cairo's working-class district of Imbaba where 12 people were killed, scores injured and a church set ablaze, according to court figures.
The National Council for Human Rights had put the death toll at 15.
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