The reason why a 44-year-old government employee stabbed a local priest’s daughter outside a church in southern Egypt “remains unknown”, according to police sources.

Lucia Murad, 14, survived a stab in the neck last weekend by a man identified by Watani only as “Muhammad T.E” in the bishopric of Sohag, 460km south of Cairo. The assailant shouted “I’ll kill you all,” as he was immobilised by a Christian youth, said a witness.

Documents were later produced attesting to the attacker’s “unstable mental condition”, a claim often used in similar attacks. As World Watch Monitor has reported previously, Copts are sceptical of such claims and the usual absence of a proper investigation.

On 5 July, a 33-year-old Christian pharmacist was found dead with his throat slit and his body stabbed several times in the northern Delta town of Tanta. A Christian MP visiting the town ruled out a “sectarian” motive for the attack on Magdy Attiya Ghobrial. Investigations are ongoing.