Egyptian Christian Shopkeeper Murdered In Suspected Sectarian Attack

A Christian shopkeeper has been murdered in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in a suspected sectarian killing.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), Youssef Lamei was smoking a pipe outside his shop in the popular Montazah district when the man accused of the murder, reportedly a 48-year-old hard-line Salafist, yelled "Allah Akbar" and cut Lamei's throat. Police arrested the suspect early on Wednesday morning.

Workers are restoring the cathedral complex damaged in December's bombing attack.Reuters

Lamei's brother Nasef told ICC: "The killing of my brother was planned and carried out accurately as the killer visited the shop many times before committing the crime and knew that my brother used to sit in this place."

He said Lamei was known as a peaceful man who agreed to close his shop for the whole month of Ramadan so as not to offend his neighbours. He was even known to close his shop during the five daily Muslim prayers.

"He would obey them to prevent any trouble from occurring," Nasef told ICC.

Lamei's son was inside the shop when his father was killed.

"I'm grieving for the loss of my father; he was slain in front of my sight," Tony Youssef told ICC. "I'm sad that we live in a country that doesn't have the security and safety... He was my father, friend, everything sweet in my life."

The attack cames less than a month after one of the deadliest attacks against Christians in Egypt, during which 27 Christians were killed in the bombing of St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo on December 11, 2016.

William Stark, ICC's regional manager, said: "We are deeply concerned and saddened by the news of Youssef Lamei's death. Sectarian crime in Egypt has spiraled out of control with continued property destruction, terrorist attacks, and now murders. Christians cannot continue to live in fear in their own countries.

"ICC condemns the killing and grieves with the Lamei family. The Egyptian authorities must do more to curtail such hate crimes and ensure equal protection under the law, regardless of an individual's religious identity."