Coptic Christians Flee from North Sinai Amid Attacks from ISIS-Affiliated Group

Following threats by ISIS and increasing attacks of militants affiliated with the terrorist group in the region, dozens of Christian families in Egypt’s North Sinai left their homes and fled away. 

“Around 35 families have arrived in Ismailia from North Sinai,” according to Anadolu.

Egyptian security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters, said that he suspected Islamic militants gunned down a Coptic Christian inside his home in northern Sinai.”

The militants stormed the home of Kamel Youssef, a plumber, the previous day and shot him to death in front of his wife and children in the town of el-Arish, said the security official.

In the same context, a suspected militants killed a Coptic Christian man and burned his son alive, then dumped their bodies on a roadside in el-Arish.

ISIS, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings; five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another was set on fire.

Accordingly, the latest data showed that around seven Christians have been killed in Arish between January 30 and Thursday.

Few Days ago, the Islamic State (IS) posted a video in which it threatened the Christians in Egypt and vowed to launch attacks against them, saying that  “Cairo will soon be liberated” (from Christians).

The video showed Abu Abdullah Al-Masry, the man responsible for the deadly attack Coptic Cathedral bombing in Cairo which killed nearly 30 people.

A few days following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility for it.

The attack was the largest by ISIS against civilians in Cairo.

In the new released video, a narrator described Christians as ISIS’s“favorite prey” and said that they do not enjoy the status of “dhimmis”, non-Muslims who were traditionally protected inside medieval Islamic empires.”

Instead, Christians are described as “infidels”.One of the jihadists featured in the video,“God gave orders to kill every infidel.”

As a result, the new released video infers that the militants are planning to carry out more terrorist attacks that will target Christians.

On the other hand, the Coptic Orthodox Church denounced “the recurring terrorist incidents in North Sinai targeting Christian citizens,” and urged the government to protect Coptic Christians in the region.

During its Friday statement the Church said that these attacks are aimed at harming national unity and the united front against terrorism.

Violence and unrest have escalated in Northern Sinai as the Egyptian military and police forces have been the target of ongoing attacks which have increased after the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi by a military coup in 2013.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the militant group responsible for a majority of attacks on military personnel, aligned with the Islamic State group in November 2014, changing its name to “Sinai Province”.

Sinai Province has targeted Egypt’s security forces in various attacks, mostly roadside bombings, and ambushes, as well as operations against security checkpoints.