WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is condemning violence between Egyptian Muslims and Christians that left seven people dead over the weekend, but is being careful not to take sides.
The violence began with sectarian violence in a town north of Cairo in which four Christians and a Muslim were killed.
Two more people, at least one of them Christian, died during an unprecedented mob attack on the main cathedral of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell called for "restraint on all sides" and offered U.S. "condolences to the friends and family of those Egyptians, both Christian and Muslim, who were killed or injured."
When asked if the U.S. was pressing Egypt to protect its Christian minority, Ventrell responded, "It's something that we consistently raise," adding that the U.S. wants the rights "of all Egyptians to be respected."