Nightly News   |  August 18, 2013

Christians become targets in Egypt

Days of fighting in Egypt eased for a bit, but now there’s a new worry. Christians are finding themselves targeted. NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

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>>> vow today by the head of the military that further violence will not be tolerated. some of that violence has been aimed in recent days at egypt 's minority christian community . nbc's amman mohyeldin is in cairo for us tonight. amman, what is the latest?

>> reporter: good evening, lester. the egyptian government announced today that 79 people were killed in violence on saturday and this evening, more than 35 people were killed when they were suffocated to death after police fired tear gas into a police van to thwart an alleged prison break. an uneasy calm on the streets of cairo today, the country's military standing watch. today, the general speaking for the first time since a bloody crackdown began this week said the military would not stand by and watch the violence rent count -- rip the country apart. the muslim brotherhood isn't backing down either, calling for more protest. morsi supporters turned their anger on the country's christians. at the church of the anne gel michael in giza, this is all that remains, sacred texts , destroyed icons, rows of charred pews. rida gabala showed me where the altar once stood. since wednesday, more than 60 churches have been attacked, crist yans killed, business and homes vandalized. we live here for years and this never happened until morsi was removed from power, he tells me. egypt 's christians welcome morsi's ouster. that made them a target. on the church's walls, attackers wrote general sisi is a murderer and egypt is an islamic state . despite the risks of violence, protests and curfews, the flock at st. mark's church still came to pray today.

>> this is not egypt and these are not egyptians.

>> reporter: christianity's roots date back millennia. and no matter how challenging it may be, the congregation has not lost faith.

>> i have faith in this country. i have faith in the people. i believe in the people.

>> reporter: this evening, the interior ministry is calling on citizens to put an end to their neighborhood checkpoints a sign that the police are trying to regain control of the security situation here in cairo . lester?