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Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church condemns attacks on North Sinai Christians

Ahram Online , Friday 24 Feb 2017
Egypt
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Photo: Ahram)
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Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement on Friday condemning "the repeated terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian Christians in North Sinai," which the Church says are aimed at harming national unity and the united front against terrorism.

On Thursday, Ahram Arabic news website reported the killing of a Christian Egyptian by unknown gunmen on the roof of his house in North Sinai's El-Arish, the eighth report attack on Copts in two weeks.

The Church has expressed its condolences over the attacks, stressing that it is in continuous contact with local officials as well as the bishop of North Sinai in order to provide support and contain the consequences of the attacks.

In the past few days, churches in Ismailia city have received Coptic families who escaped El-Arish for fear of being targeted.

On Monday  the Islamic State (IS) militant group released a video vowing to carry out attacks against the Christian community in Egypt, where the group vowed to "liberate Cairo," even though over the past few years its activity has been centered in North Sinai.

The 20-minute video titled "Fight All Idolaters'' also purpotedly 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.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attacks against Christians.

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 El-Arish was gunned down by Islamic State militants.

The group has also killed civilians in North Sinai for allegedly cooperating with security forces.

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