Egypt's Christians 'in need of prayer'

An Egyptian protester holds a cross and a copy of Islam's holy book, the Koran, during a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square following violent clashes between Muslims and ChristiansAP

The head of the Bible Society of Egypt is asking for prayer after deadly attacks on Christians.

Ramez Atallah said he had a "heavy heart" following the deaths of four Christians in skirmishes in Khosous and the subsequent deaths of three more people in an attack on crowds gathered for their funerals at St Mark's Cathedral, Cairo.

Witnesses say the police arrived late on the scene and then proceeded to fire tear gas at the crowds, choking and terrifying people sheltering inside the cathedral.

Pope Tawadros II has strongly criticised the handling of the situation by the security forces and the government, saying, "We need actions, not words… There has been no positive and clear action from the State, but there is a God. The Church does not ask for anyone's protection, only from God."

Mr Atallah welcomed a protest march against the violence in Cairo that was attended by thousands of Egyptian Muslims, saying it was a "great encouragement to Christians".

"All Egyptians are in need of your prayers at this time," he said.  "The Bible Society of Egypt is also in need of your prayers, as we try to be a source of comfort to millions of distraught Egyptian Christians and encourage them not to react in kind but rather to 'defeat evil with good' (Romans 12:21)."

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