Official: CSF prevented ‘catastrophe’ during cathedral clashes

Central Security Forces managed to save Cairo from an “imminent catastrophe” during the clashes on Sunday outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasseya, the force’s senior official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“An inevitable catastrophe would have occurred had the attackers managed to hit a neighboring gasoline station with Molotovs,” Ashraf Abdallah, assistant interior minister for central security, told state-run Al-Gomhurriya newspaper.

The forces created a buffer zone around the cathedral, and also deactivated gasoline pumps at nearby stations, Abdallah added.

The violence outside the cathderal, which left two dead and several others injured, started as the cathedral concluded the funeral services of four killed at Khosous, Qalyubiya, after bloody clashes with Muslim locals. The clashes also left one Muslim dead.

The Interior Ministry said Monday that eight of its servicemen were injured in the clashes, including seven with birdshot.

Abdallah added that security had been tightened around the cathedral, with two armored vehicles and four squads of riot forces.

“Once the funeral procession was out, we were surprised by a torrent of stones and birdshot from everywhere, including rooftops of buildings next to the cathedral,” he said.


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