Security forces arrest 45 Islamists in Upper Egypt

Sept. 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM

DALJA, Egypt, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Security forces in Egypt Monday arrested 45 people in an operation against Islamists, officials said.

The operation took place in Dalja, Minya governorate, in Upper Egypt, where there have been numerous of attacks on Christians in recent weeks, including the burning of five Christian chuches, Ahram Online reported.

"Christians in Dalja were living like prisoners in their homes thanks to a campaign of intimidation by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers," Antwan Adel, activist and spokesperson for Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic Christian rights group, told Ahram Online. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population and have long complained of discrimination.

The Islamists extremists "went to Christian houses to demand money and threatened to burn them down or abduct family members if they didn't pay," Adel said.

Monday's joint police-army operation was the first targeting Islamists in Dalja since supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi set fire to a police station and drove police out of the town in late August.

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