A day after the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video showing three terrorists shooting an elderly Christian in the head, the Egyptian interior ministry said on Monday its security forces killed three terrorists involved in the incident in North Sinai.
An ISIS speaker in the video said the execution of Nabil El-Habashy, which took place in North Sinai’s Bir El-Abd, comes as a result of his cooperation with the Egyptian army.
The interior ministry in a statement said the three elements were planning to execute a number of hostile acts that target Christian citizens, their properties, and their places of worship.
They also planned to target army and police forces, the statement added.
The forces blockaded the terrorists while driving a pick-up truck in Al-Abtal area in North Sinai and came under heavy gunfire from the elements once they noticed the police presence.
Firing back, the security forces killed the three elements and detonated an explosive belt one of them was wearing, according to the statement.
Three automatic rifles, an explosive belt, a grenade, and bullets were found with the terrorists, the statement noted.
The statement said the security forces are pursuing other terrorists involved in El-Habashy’s killing, including Gehad Ouda, Ahmed Shahata, and Khaled Hussein.
Two dead terrorists were identified. One of them is Mohamed Salem Zeyada, aka Ammar, a highly dangerous terrorist, the statement said.
Ammar planned and executed many terrorist incidents in North Sinai and was in charge of securing logistic support for the elements, the statement explained.
The second element is Youssef Ibrahim Salim, aka Abu Mohamed, who executed many terrorist operations and assisted Ammar in securing logistic support.
The security forces are pursuing other terrorist elements involved in El-Habashy’s killing, including, from left: Khaled Huseein, Ahmed Shahata and Gehad Ouda (Photo: Interior Ministry)
El-Habashy, 62, appeared in the ISIS video before being executed, saying he had been held captive by ISIS’ Sinai Province for around three months and 11 days.
He said he contributed to building the Church of Virgin Mary in Bir El-Abd, asserting that the church is cooperating with the army and the intelligence service in the war against ISIS.
The video then showed El-Habashy on his knees in front of three terrorists holding rifles.
Speaking during the video, one of the terrorists called for a crusade against Christians, warning Egypt's Christians, in particular, of a similar fate in the event of cooperating with the army.
The speaker then shot El-Habashy in the back of his head.
Several terrorist attacks took place in Bir El-Abd over the past decade, including in Al-Rawdah Mosque. The attack left 300 people dead, including children.