U.S. warns of terror threat against women Christian missionaries in Egypt

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The United States warned on Saturday that U.S. women Christian missionaries in mainly Muslim Egypt face threats of terror attacks and urged vigilance.

“The embassy has credible information suggesting terrorist interest in targeting U.S. female missionaries in Egypt,” the American mission in Cairo said in a statement on its website.

“Accordingly, U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance, taking necessary precautions to maintain their personal security,” it said, calling on Americans to ensure they can be contacted by diplomatic missions in case of emergency.

On Friday, a Republican congresswoman froze a request by the U.S. administration for $450 million in cash for the Egyptian government, saying it needed new scrutiny amid rocky U.S. ties with Cairo.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama said Egypt was neither a friend nor a foe in the wake of last year’s uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamists to power.

Obama’s comments came after a mob raided the U.S. embassy in Cairo in protest at a film mocking Islam made in the United States that sparked deadly unrest across the Muslim world.

Coptic Christians, who make up six to 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 82 million, regularly complain of discrimination and marginalization. They have also been the target of numerous sectarian attacks.

The Copts have been nervous since the Islamists came to power.