The Egyptian paper Youm 7 reported yesterday that two homes of Baha’is were set on fire in Shuraniya village, in the Sohag governorate. The group of people responsible for the arson also stole property of the Baha’is.

The arson did not result in human casualties because the owners of the homes had fled Shuraniya and have been living in Cairo since their homes were previously torched in March 2009, fearing additional attacks. 40 Baha’i families from the village fled it following the attacks and are still unable to return to them. While several people were arrested after the previous arson attack, they were later released and no charges were brought against anyone. The March 2009 attack targeted five homes of Baha’is following anti-Baha’i incitement on Egyptian TV.

Update: The Daily News Egypt is reporting that police involvement is suspected in the arson. It also reports that the arson happened a few days before the Baha’i home owners were expected to return to Shuraniya.

According to Adel Ramadan, the Head of the legal unit of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, “a group of Baha’is had asked state security police to secure their return to their homes. They were told that they can return on Tuesday, and suddenly we found people attacking homes.” He added that “we have strong evidence that two state security officers incited the people to attack the homes of Baha’is.” Bahaa Abdel-Rahman, a Baha’i home owner who fled Shuraniya after the 2009 arson is quoted in the paper as saying that “people told us that the police had left the village an hour before the attacks, which proves their involvement in inciting people.”