Egypt’s Deputy Prime Minister Yehya El Gamal has accused the United States and Israel of fomenting religious violence aimed at weakening Egypt, Arab media said on Monday.
“The United States and Israel are behind the religious sedition in Egypt” as “they realize this is the only way to break up the country,” the MENA news agency quoted El Gamal as saying on television.
“Israel is trying to do this because Egypt is the most important power in the region,” he said.
In early June, Egyptian officials arrested a U.S.-born Israeli man, posing as a journalist, with a laptop and three cell phones containing top secret information.
The alleged Israeli spy is also suspected of engaging in efforts to incite sectarian tensions among youths in the Egyptian capital during the country’s popular revolution, urging them to clash with security forces.
On Saturday, three people were wounded in inter-religious clashes in the southern Egyptian village of Awlad Khalaf, local media said. Muslim residents of the village rallied outside a Christian-owned land where construction of a church was under way.
Christians fired gunshots and the two sides scuffled. Three Muslims were shot, including one in serious condition. A Christian man was stabbed.
Sectarian clashes frequently break out in Egypt for reasons such as church building and love affairs between Coptic Christians and Muslims.