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Egypt Detains More Religious Zealots

April 5, 1990

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Police have detained 269 religious extremists in connection with attacks on Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, Interior Minister Abdel-Halim Moussa said in Thursday’s editions of a newspaper.

The total arrested was 53 more than Moussa announced 10 days ago to parliament. The minister had said 216 Moslems and Coptics were detained after the anti-Christian attacks last month in el-Minya province.

In an interview in the Cairo daily Al-Gomhouria, Moussa said the 53 suspects were detained for plotting new sectarian troubles.

Moussa gave no details but said the new arrests brought to more than 700 the number of people in preventive custody under an emergency law enacted after Moslem extremists assassinated President Anwar Sadat Oct. 6, 1981.

Moslem extremists stoned and set fire to two churches and a youth club in the el-Minya province. Three apartment buildings, a candy factory and several Christian-owned shops were gutted by fire. Fifteen people were injured.

The government said the riots were triggered by a rumor that the son of the candy factory owner, a Copt, had taken obscene photographs of a Moslem teen- age girl after drugging her.

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