Egyptian Girl, 10, Killed Heading Home From Bible Class

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 04:45 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A Coptic Christian girl walking home from Bible class with her Sunday school teacher was shot and killed last week in Cairo, the same day a 75-year-old man died in a kidnapping attempt on a Christian family in another part of Egypt, human rights activists said.

Ten-year-old Jessica Boulous of the Ain Shams section of Cairo was killed on Aug. 6 in the evening while walking from the Ahmed Esmat Street Evangelical Church through a market with the teacher, the nonprofit Morning Star News service reports.

The gunman was not identified, Morning Star News reports. Jessica was killed instantly from a single bullet that had passed through her chest and heart, witnesses said.

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No one has claimed responsibility for the killing.

The shooting comes amid increasing threats and widespread attacks against Christians in Egypt by Islamic militants, activists told the news service.

According to Morning Star News, the teacher turned to buy an item at a stall in the market only to turn around and find Jessica lying in the dirt in a puddle of blood.

A Muslim shopkeeper who knew Jessica told the news service that he saw her fall to the ground and ran to her side. He took off his shirt, wrapped it around her body and rushed her to a hospital, but she was already dead.

"I just can’t believe she is gone," Nasr Allah Zakaria, Jessica’s uncle, told Morning Star News. "She was such a sweet little girl. She was like a daughter to me. I can’t believe she is gone."

Zakaria, pastor of an evangelical church in Egypt, said he did not know for sure if the shooting was religiously motivated but quickly added that violence against Christians "seems to be normal" in Egypt now.

On the same day Jessica was shot, masked gunmen burst into a grocery store in Jazeerat Al Khazendara village in Souhag and attacked a Coptic Christian family, rights activists told the news service.

During the kidnapping attempt, Milad Ebeed was abducted and his father, mother, and brother were shot.

His father, Sadek Ebeed, 75, died at the store. The others sustained serious, but non-life-threatening wounds.

Milad Ebeed was later released after a ransom was paid, the activists told Morning Star News.

Violence or intimidation against Christians has become almost a daily occurrence in most parts of Egypt.

In light of the protests that led to the removal of President Mohammed Morsi, his more militant supporters have blamed Coptic Christians for his ouster — and many have called for revenge against Christians.

Within 12 hours after the Egyptian army announced that it had removed Morsi, reports of attacks against Christians by Morsi supporters began, Morning Star News reports.

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have said that the attacks against Christians will not stop until Morsi has been returned to power.

The new wave of assaults has included drive-by-shootings, kidnappings, attacks on church buildings and Christian-owned property, and two lethal shootings.

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