Samaan Shehata (Egypt Independent)

A Coptic priest has been stabbed to death in Cairo, reports Egypt Independent.

Samaan Shehata, who is from the Beni Suef governorate south of Cairo, was visiting the capital for a conference when a man reportedly stopped his vehicle and then attacked him with a cleaver.

The attacker, who has not been named, has been arrested as police attempt to ascertain the motive.

A local journalist told Egypt Independent it was believed to have been a “hate crime executed by an extremist affiliated to IS [the Islamic State group] or Salafism”.

A statement from the Coptic Church in Egypt said another priest, Benjamin Moftah, was also injured during the attack in the El-Marg suburb of northern Cairo.

Egypt’s Copts have suffered a wave of deadly violence this year. In February, IS vowed to “wipe them out”.

In the same month, hundreds of Copts fled Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula after eight Copts were murdered and Islamists posted videos and leaflets telling Copts to leave the area or be killed.

In April, twin bombings of Coptic churches killed 49 during packed Palm Sunday worship services, then in May 28 Copts were slaughtered on a bus in Minya.

In July, after three more Copts were murdered in eight days, a priest in Cairo said “Copts are facing the most aggressive campaign against them in the history of modern Egypt. The government must be held accountable for its failure to protect them. It also needs to fight relentlessly against sectarianism and discrimination, which produce an inexhaustible supply of these awful crimes”.