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Map and flag of EgyptChristians in the Upper Egypt village of Al-Nagameesh have been left devastated after a mob armed with petrol bombs went on a rampage, destroying homes and businesses. The attack on November 25th was apparently triggered by suspicions that local Christians had turned a community centre into a church.

The community centre, which was also destroyed by fire, had become the focal point for Al-Nagameesh's Christian minority that gathered there for funerals, weddings and sometimes prayer. There is no church facility in the village where these believers can gather.

Three days before the attack, a local pastor held a ceremony at the centre to mark the first anniversary of his father's death. The next day, extremists handed out leaflets claiming Christians had turned the centre into a church and urging other militant Muslims to attack it. They cut off the village water supply in advance and blocked the firefighters' routes so the fires could not be controlled.

Tensions have been worsened by the country's new legislation, which passed in August, imposing further restrictions on the building of churches in Egypt. For more information on the persecution of believers residing in this nation, please visit the country profile.

Pray that God will provide for all those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed or damaged in this recent attack. May local officials take firm action by clamping down on extremism, ensuring that such attacks do not go without reasonable consequences. Continue to intercede for members of the government, in hopes that they will uphold the religious rights of minorities throughout Egypt. Of course, we also need to intercede for the perpetrators who are desperately in need of God's life-changing ministry and salvation.

Important Note: Since the compilation of this week's Persecution & Prayer Alert, we have received news that additional bombings have taken place in Egypt -- one of them targeting a church in Cairo. Please join us by upholding the numerous injured victims, as well as the families and friends of those who did not survive the attacks. (More information will be provided in a future report.) Such incidents of persecution serve as ongoing reminders of the need to uphold our Christian brothers and sisters during these perilous times.