Hezbollah: Cairo clashes a U.S. plot

Oct. 10, 2011 at 1:25 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Cairo's clashes that left at least 25 people dead are part of a U.S. plot to divide the Arab world, Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah said Monday.

"Hezbollah sees that what is going on is part of the U.S. project that aims at disintegrating the entire region based on race, religion," Hezbollah's press office said in a statement.

Sunday's bloody violence following a demonstration by native Egyptian Coptic Christians angry about a recent attack on a church was Egypt's most deadly violence since the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak from the presidency eight months ago.

Most of the dead were Christian protesters but some were also security-force members.

The Obama administration had no immediate comment on Hezbollah's charge.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was "deeply concerned about the violence."

"The United States expresses our condolences to the families and loved ones of all who were killed or injured, and stands with the Egyptian people in this painful and difficult time," he said in a statement.

"Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt," his statement said. "As the Egyptian people shape their future, the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities -- including Copts -- must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom."

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church harshly criticized the government Monday over its actions in crushing the protest.

The church, which represents about 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million people, accused the military and police of letting anti-Christian instigators turn a peaceful protest into a sectarian riot -- then used the violence as a excuse to use deadly force against the Coptic protesters.

It said provocations against Egypt's Christian community reflected "problems that occur repeatedly and go unpunished."

Hezbollah -- which receives financial and political support from Iran and Syria and is considered a terrorist organization by Egypt, the United States and five other countries -- said it saw the violence as "one form of sectarian strife that is being sowed by the enemies of Egypt, Arabs, Muslims and Christians."

Hezbollah also expressed its sadness and pain over the civilian deaths.

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