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Watani International

A Coptic jeweller in his sixties, Hosny al-Khanagry, was murdered on the evening of 26 February 2024, as he attended his shop in the neighbourhood of Boulaq Abul-Ela in central Cairo. His shop carries the sign: “Hosny al-Khanagry and his son Michael”.

In less than 24 hours on the murder of the jeweller, the police caught a man accused of murdering him. No information, however, is yet available on his identity. He is now in police custody pending investigation.

The murder took place during an armed robbery. A relative of Mr Khanagry told Watani that surveillance cameras placed in the shop showed that the shop owner was dealt seven knife stabs in the neck and back and left swimming in his blood. The murderer fled with a trove of golden jewellery from the shop. No one intercepted him, even though the shop is in a noisy, densely populated area.

A close relative of Mr Khanagry said that, on the morning of the day the crime was committed, a man visited Khanagry’s shop as a customer who wished to buy golden jewellery. He picked a large collection of jewellery and gold coins, but then left saying he would be back in the evening. He did return in the evening to finalise the sale but, during the negotiation, asked Mr Khanagry to send the worker who helped him around the shop, the only other man there, to buy him a pack of cigarettes. The worker left, and the customer asked to see other pieces of gold. Mr Khanagry turned to open his safe, upon which the murderer attacked him with a knife, stabbing him seven times in the neck and back. The killer then collected the gold and fled. No one outside suspected anything.

When the worker came back, Mr Khanagry was dead. He called the police.

News had circulated on social media that Mr Khanagry was killed by a number of men in black masks, armed with firearms and knives, but the surveillance cameras showed that this was not the case. A photo, also posted on social media, of several masked men storming a shop was found to be fake.

The murder raised fears among the public in general, but especially among Copts, whether recent crime might signal a targeting of Copts’ shops or small businesses. Copts, who have a reputation for being an affluent community, represent a large proportion of Egyptian jewellers and gold traders. At the height of Islamic terrorism in Egypt in the 1980s, Coptic jewellers were considered legitimate targets by Islamists who claimed they used the money and stolen gold to fund their terrorist attacks.


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