Egypt was not ready on Monday to react to demands over two Coptic women rumoured to have converted to Islam made by an Al-Qaeda in Iraq. According to AFP, the SITE monitoring group conveyed the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed Sunday's attack on a Baghdad church that left 37 Christians dead, had given Egypt's Coptic Church 48 hours to free the two women.
"Egypt categorically rejects having its name or affairs pushed into such criminal acts," the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. It also "strongly condemned" the attack on the Baghdad church.
The Christians, including two priests, died in a US-led rescue operation on a Baghdad cathedral to release some 120 hostages held by Al-Qaeda gunmen.
The two women, Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine, are the wives of Coptic priests whom Islamists have claimed were forcibly detained by the Coptic Church after they had converted to Islam. Shehata disappeared for a few days in July, setting of Coptic protests. Wafa Constantine also went missing, in 2004, reportedly after her husband refused to give her a divorce.