Christian families fled North Sinai voluntarily: National Council for Human Rights

Mahmoud Aziz , Wednesday 1 Mar 2017

Displaced Christian families
A vehicle carrying the luggage of some displaced christian families can be seen in front of the anglican church in Ismailia governorate (Photo: Facebook)

The National Council for Human Rights has said the fleeing of Christians from North Sinai after the recent spate of militant linked-killings took place on a voluntary basis.

A delegation of the council, a quasi-state body, met with some of the Christian families in Ismailiya governorate, where many are being hosted.
The council said in a statement on Wednesday that the families who fled Sinai had not informed the authorities or coordinated with them.
In the last week, dozens of Christian families fled North Sinai three Christians were killed in El-Arish city.
The killings brought the total number of militant-linked murders of Copts to seven in the last month.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church said that 143 Christian families have fled to nearby Ismailiya so far.

In a report released on Wednesday, the council said that "distribution of flyers that called for the killing of Christians at public bus stations largely contributed to the fleeing incidents."

The mission also urged authorities to provide all services to the displaced families similar to residents in the governorates they have fled to.

Ealier last week, the Islamic State militant group called on its supporters to attack Christians across the country in a video where it also claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a church in Cairo in December.

Several days after the video was released, the murders of the three Christians in Arish took place. 

Islamic State-affiliated militants have claimed responsibility for several of the attacks.

The Egyptian government is battling an Islamist insurgency in North Sinai that intensified after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

A state of emergency has been imposed in some regions of North Sinai in August 2013, and has since been extended more than once for three months at a time.
Christians are estimated to make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s population. 
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