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07 December 2023

French police probe Copt churches threat


French police are investigating threats made against Coptic churches in France in the wake of a deadly attack on one in Egypt, a security source said Monday.

The Paris anti-terrorism squad launched a probe on terrorism-related charges after a church leader filed a complaint, the source said.

A priest at the Coptic church of Saint Mary and Saint Mark in the Paris suburb of Chatenay-Malabry told AFP on Monday that he had made a complaint to police.

The priest, Girguis Lucas, said a worshipper at his church had seen "threats made on the Internet by Islamic mujahedeens who announced other attacks in Europe and in France in particular, and who mention our church."

"These threats are not a fantasy," said Lucas, who estimated there are 250,000 Coptic Christians in France. "Here people are free. We cannot accept these threats."

Germany's Coptic Christians have also received threats of attack by radical Muslims and asked for protection, a bishop said in comments published by a newspaper on Sunday.

"The Internet is full of threats of this kind against us. The police have alerted us several times against attacks by radical Muslims," Coptic Bishop Anba Damian said in a report on the Bild's online edition.

"I have written to the interior minister to ask for protection."
Egypt was on high alert Monday ahead of the Coptic Christmas holiday on January 7 following the New Year's Day church bombing that killed 21 people in the city of Alexandria.