The clashes between Muslims and Christians in Egypt over the weekend left 12 people killed, 180 wounded and one al-Azraa church burnt, giving a new dimension to the post-revolutionary democracy.

Egypt's justice minister, Abdel Aziz al-Gindi warned that those who threaten the country's security will face an iron fist while the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said, it is taking stringent “deterrent” measures to stop further violence.

The radical movement of Muslims in Cairo known as Salafis has been blamed for the recent attacks on Christians and others whom they disapprove.

The current ruling front has miserably failed to halt Salafis' hostility towards the Christians, say opponents.

The violence on Saturday started when more than 100 traditionalist Salafist Muslims assembled outside Coptic Saint Mena Church in the Imbaba district. The Islamists declared that the district Imbaba -- a state within a state, is “the Islamic Republic of Imbaba,” one of the country's Islamic militancy areas.

The army has so far deployed armed troops and vehicles to cordon off any violence in the city.

Gindi said, the government would soon implement laws criminalizing attacks against places of worship, including death penalty. He also said the Egyptian people, police and the army will act to “foil the counter-revolution”.

The military council has taken temporary control of the country after President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown on Feb. 11.