By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
CAIRO (Worthy News) - A man has been charged with killing a Coptic Orthodox priest in the coastal city of Alexandria in northern Egypt, Christian sources said Thursday.
The priest, Arsanious Wadid, was stabbed to death while supervising a youth outing on the seaside promenade in Alexandria.
Prosecutors referred his alleged attacker Nehru Abdel-Moneim Tawfiq, 60, to the criminal court on April 19 after testimonies of 17 witnesses, trial observers said.
Tawfiq, who is believed to be Muslim, was a member of a terrorist group in the 1990s, Middle East media reported. He was jailed for his participation in assassination cases before receiving a presidential pardon.
The accused initially confessed to attacking Arsonios, 56, on the seaside promenade in Alexandria’s Sidi Bishr district. But Tawfiq later claimed he had mental illness and did not recall stabbing the priest, Worthy News learned. The prosecution disputes his claim.
Advocacy group Barnabas Fund told Worthy News that “Arsanios was stabbed three times,” including in the neck, as he guided a group of about 35 children to minibusses.
The children were reportedly due to travel back to his church in the Muharram Bek district of Alexandria after their beach day.
Instead, the priest was transported to a hospital where he died from his wounds, Christians said.
The case has underscored concerns about broader hostility and Islamic extremism towards minority Christians in the mainly Muslim nation.
Christians comprise more than 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Muslim population.