A local sailboat, known as faluka, sails in the River Nile on the outskirts of Cairo on May 18, 2010. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
LUXOR, Egypt (TheBlaze/AP) -- A mother and two daughters were allegedly killed by male relatives in southern Egypt who believed they'd had affairs, the latest apparent example of so-called "honor killings" in which women are slain for violating traditional Islamic morals in the conservative region, a security official said Friday.
Police believe the 10 men stormed the house of the women, strangling them and beating them with sharp tools, the official said, based on the alleged confession of one of the suspects. The men then wrapped the women's bodies in blankets, weighted them with stones and throw them in the river Nile, the official added.
He said one of the men, who was arrested on Thursday, gave a detailed account of the killings and said they were intended to protect the family's honor.
One woman's body was seen floating on the surface of the Nile near the town of Esna close to the ancient city of Luxor, the official added. Police are searching for the two other bodies and nine remaining suspects.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Egyptian papers frequently chronicle crimes in which fathers, brothers or even sons kill their female relatives on suspicions that they are having affairs outside marriage. The word "affairs" should be interpreted loosely in such cases -- a glance perceived to be flirtatious can sometimes be enough to warrant the death of a young woman.
Such "honor killings" are especially common in the conservative south and in the countryside, where women's actions are considered to bring shame on the family.
The practice is against Egyptian law, and perpetrators are prosecuted if they are arrested. Courts are sometimes sympathetic to the accused, though, and give lighter sentences.
Many times, however, the murder is not reported, or the gruesome deaths are spun as suicide.