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One dead, 66 wounded in Cairo clashes after funeral

Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

Clashes broke out between Coptic Christians and Muslims in central Cairo on Sunday after the funeral of four Coptics killed in sectarian violence outside the Egyptian capital on Friday night.

One person was killed and 66 others were wounded during clashes that erupted in Cairo on Sunday following a funeral service at the city’s main cathedral for four Coptic Christians killed during sectarian violence on Friday, NBC News has confirmed.

Mobs reportedly attacked mourners leaving St. Mark’s Cathedral after a ceremony honoring Christians killed during the latest wave of ethnic tensions to grip the most populous Arab state.

Witnesses told local TV stations that the riot broke out after a throng of people lobbed rocks and petrol bombs at the mourners. Funeral-goers reportedly counterattacked by throwing stones at the mobs, BBC reported.

Riot police deployed around the cathedral sprayed tear gas into the teeming crowd to break up the violence.

At least 66 people were hurt in the melee, including one police officer, Reuters reported.

Mahrous Hana Ibrahim, 30, a Christian, was killed during the bloody clashes, NBC News has confirmed.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is reportedly holding meetings with key advisors to address the outbreak of violence. Morsi also phoned Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, to offer his condolences and promise an immediate investigation, officials said.

Egypt's Minister of Interior, Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim, and other key officials have arrived at St. Mark's Cathedral to inspect the general security situation.

Although the clashes had subsided, police presence was expected to remain heavy into the night.

The Coptic Christians, who make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million people, have repeatedly alleged that the government has failed to protect them since former leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011.

Recent months have seen escalated tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians. But Friday’s sectarian hostilities and Sunday’s chaotic clashes represent some of the worst of the recent violence.

Reuters contributed to this report.