Published: Jan 04, 2011 10:38 PM EST
Updated: Jan 04, 2011 7:39 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration says it is "deeply concerned" by what appears to be a rising number of attacks on Christians in the Middle East and Africa.

 The State Department said Tuesday that the U.S. condemns religiously motivated violence and is disturbed by a recent string of attacks against Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria. Spokesman P.J. Crowley is calling for the governments in those countries to bring the perpetrators to justice.

A radical Muslim sect in Nigeria has claimed numerous recent attacks on Christian churches. In Alexandria, Egypt, on Saturday, a suicide bomber killed 21 Coptic Christians outside a church. Iraq's tiny Christian community has been hit hard by recent attacks, including a late October church siege in Baghdad that left 68 people dead.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)