Christian Coptic Bishop Wissa, whose diocese includes several of thevillages hit by the fighting, said Monday (Jan. 3) all of the dead wereChristians from the village of el-Kusheh, located about 275 miles southof Cairo, the Associated Press reported.
The Interior Ministry said 44 people had been injured in thefighting and a number of buildings and vehicles were torched.
The violence was sparked Friday (Dec. 31) by a dispute between aMuslim street vendor and a Christian shopkeeper, according to reports,and then spread to nearby villages. According to Wissa, who uses onlyone name, a church and 50 houses, shops and warehouses were burned inthe village of Awlad Toq West.
"Barbaric people carrying rifles went on a rampage and startedfiring at Christian shops and Christian houses," Wissa said.