Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

ISIS steps up brazen attacks on Christians

Egyptian Christians last summer in the rubble of a torched church. — AFP  Getty Images Egyptian Christians last summer in the rubble of a torched church. — AFP Getty Images
Howard Terry | 02 March, 2017, 00:31

Most of the attacks by the group were carried out in North Sinai, but it also claimed responsibility for attacks in other regions, including the country's capital Cairo. Christian leaders and aid workers also said a plumber was gunned down inside his home the following day while his family watched.

On Sunday, a report from the Cabinet read that a total 118 Coptic families had fled North Sinai.

Youssef Tawfiq, whose father Gamal was shot dead two weeks ago, couldn't help but express his frustration to CNN for being abandoned by the government. "They are thirsty for the blood of any Christian, so there is no way for any Christian to live in el-Arish".

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has defended his country's fight against the Islamic State group, after dozens of Christian families fled the Sinai Peninsula following a string of jihadist attacks.

The group's local affiliate recently vowed to step up a wave of attacks on the embattled Christian minority, pointing to a shift in tactics toward targeting Christians and their holy sites, which are less protected than the military and police installations that are their usual targets. The narrator of the video said that Christians should no longer be treated as "dhimmis", who enjoy a degree of state protection.

The post instructs Muslims to "target the infidel Christians attacking their churches and those who protect them using weapons, improvised weapons, daggers and even stones".

Coptic Orthodox - who split away from the Western (Roman) and Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic Church in 451 A.D. - make up about 9 percent of the population, with the majority of people being Muslim.

Families arrive scared and in need of supplies, which are being stockpiled at the church via donations from several parishes, he said.

"It is hard to estimate if there will be more families coming, it depends how bad the situation is".

"The American people hope that the Egyptian people will succeed in their struggle against terrorism and extremism", added Nassif. The activists asserted that authorities only agreed to put up the families in government housing in Ismailiya after pressure on social media.

In recent days, scores of Coptic Christians have fled the peninsula following a spate of killings by suspected militants. "They're terrified of the violence and brutality".

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