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Maspero: A massacre of Christians in Egypt

What started out as a peaceful protest in Cairo turned into one of worst massacres of Christians in modern Egypt. Hossam Bahgat, a human rights activist, describes the day
Maspero: A massacre of Christians in Egypt 04:27

This week, 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon reported on the Coptic Christians of Egypt, who have been the target of brutal attacks by Muslim mobs and even the Egyptian military.

Simon interviewed Hossam Bahgat, a human rights activist, who witnessed what Simon refers to as the "most notorious attack" against the Copts. The attack occurred on October 9, 2011 outside the Maspero building in Cairo, which houses Egyptian state television and radio.

According to Bahgat, what started out as a peaceful protest against the destruction of a church in the south of Egypt, turned into a bloodbath.

"As soon as they arrived, they came under gunfire and then what we saw on TV were army vehicles chasing protesters and running them over," Bahgat tells Simon. "By the end of the day, we realized that 27 had been killed in the course of less than one hour."

Bahgat visited the morgue after the killings were over and calls it "the worst day of my life," as well as a major turning point for Coptic Christians of Egypt.

"Copts for the first time realized that the military, the army, is not going to protect them," Bahgat said. "In fact, the army is going to first kill them, and then tell the world that it was Christians that attacked the army. So it was a turning point in terms of the unconditional support that most Christians had expressed to the army since they replaced Mubarak."

To learn more about Coptic Christians in Egypt, watch the full 60 Minutes story here.

Editor's Note: This segment was originally published Dec. 15, 2013

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