Dozens detained after Egypt sectarian clashes

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CAIRO: Police put 37 people behind bars on Saturday after violent clashes a day earlier between Muslims and Christians in southern Egypt, a judicial source told AFP.

They will be held in custody for four days pending investigation, the source said.

Fighting broke out on Friday after midday prayers in Minya province, 225 km south of Cairo, following rumors that a church was planning to annex an adjoining piece of land.

Angry Muslims started fires on a piece of land owned by a Christian which led to clashes where both sides hurled stones and bottles at one another. At least 12 people injured during the fighting, a security source said. Authorities refused to say how many Christians and Muslims were detained, giving just a global figure, in order to avoid inciting more tension.

Members of Egypt s Coptic Church are estimated to form six to 10 percent of the 76 million population and are the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

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