Egypt Monk Detained Over Murder Of Bishop

Egyptian security forces gather on a Cairo bridge where a suicide bomber blew himself up in a foiled attempt to attack a nearby church

Bishop Epiphanius, 64, was found dead in a pool of blood at Saint Macarius Monastery in Wadi Natroun, north-west of Cairo, on 29 July.

Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt's large Christian minority in recent years, including two deadly bombings on Palm Sunday in April 2017 and a blast at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral in December 2016 that killed 28 people.

The decision by the Alexandria appeals prosecution today comes almost a week after the Coptic Orthodox Church defrocked monk Isaiah El-Makary as an investigation by the monastic affairs committee of the Holy Synod, the highest decision-making body in the church, showed he had committed actions unbecoming of a monk.

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II also closed his official Facebook page.

Wael Saad, who had been a monk at the monastery, reportedly told prosecutors he used an iron pole to bludgeon the bishop to death.

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It said the number of monks at each monastery would be limited "to ensure monastic order" and they would be restricted from going outside without the abbot's permission.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population of 100 million.

The monks were given a month to disable all of their social media accounts, according to state media.

They have long complained of discrimination and have been previously targeted by the Islamic State group although there is no evidence suggesting the bishop's death was related to sectarian tensions.

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