The Anglican Church in Egypt’s Ismailia has received almost 30 Christian families, including 150 people, who escaped North Sinai’s Capital Arish after several terrorist attacks targeting Christians in the city, church official Nabil Shukrallah Basta told Ahram Arabic news website on Saturday.
Basta said that the families have been housed in different areas of the city, including at a youth hostel, and that more Christian families are expected to arrive today.
Basta also mentioned the support the church has received from the Dubara Church in Cairo, along with other churches, as well as the support of the Ismailia governorate in containing the crisis.
In the past few days, churches in Ismailia have received dozens of Coptic families who escaped the North Sinai city for fear of being targeted.
Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement on Friday condemning “the repeated terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian Christians in North Sinai.”
Social solidarity minister Ghada Waly visited on Saturday the International Youth Hostel in Ismailia to check on the Christian families staying there, assuring that this is a temporary situation and that they will be back to their homes within days.
Ismailia Governor Yassin Taher said that the displaced families are welcome in the governorate, and that he has received many calls from the residents of Ismailia offering to host the displaced families.
Over the past two weeks, eight terrorist attacks have targeted Christians in North Sinai, including the murder of three people in Arish on Wednesday and Thursday.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attacks against Christians. However, last Monday, the Islamic State (IS) militant group released a video vowing to carry out attacks against the Christian community in Egypt and promising to liberate Cairo, even though the group’s activity has traditionally been centered in North Sinai.
The 20-minute video titled “Fight All Idolaters” also purportedly shows the last statements made by the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Cairo’s St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church on 11 December 2016, killing 29 Coptic Christian worshippers, mostly women and children.
The Egyptian army, which has been waging a war against the North Sinai Islamist insurgency- led mostly by Islamic State affiliate Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis- has killed hundreds of militants in intensified comprehensive military campaigns in the governorate.
In July 2016, Father Rafael Moussa of the Mar Girgis Church in Arish was gunned down by IS.
The group has also killed civilians in North Sinai for allegedly cooperating with security forces.
Source: Ahram online