The case of two Egyptian women who fled their priest husbands and supposedly converted to Islam before being forcibly returned to the Coptic Church has gripped the media and fanned the flames of sectarian tension in the Arab world’s most populous country.

Now, the domestic story appears to have spiraled into a regional flash point. Deadly bombings targeted Christians across Baghdad on Wednesday, killing five and injuring 20. The attacks came a little over a week after the killing of dozens of Christians in an assault on a church in Baghdad.

An al-Qaida affiliate organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were retribution for the “imprisonment” of Muslims in Egypt. The group issued a warning to Egypt’s Christian population, threatening to target the community and churches unless the women were released, turning the spotlight once again on the festering Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt.

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