URGENT: Egyptian Government must act to protect Coptic Christians in North Sinai

Arish

It is clear the situation in North Sinai has become critically dangerous for the Christians remaining there. The Egyptian must take immediate action and ensure that Copts are afforded protection in North Sinai and across Egypt. 

URGENT – EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT MUST ACT TO EVACUATE COPTIC CHRISTIANS IN NORTH SINAI

The Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM) calls on the Egyptian Government to urgently rescue and evacuate Coptic Christians from al-Arish city in North Sinai.

There has been a surge in attacks against Copts in recent weeks and the situation in the coastal town of al-Arish is now critical.

Reports suggest that at least 7 Egyptian Christians have been slaughtered, with the most recent victims burnt to death by extremist militants. Just on Wednesday, a Coptic Christian man and his son were gunned down by militants. Last week, Gamal Tawfiq, 50, a Coptic Christian teacher, was shot on his way to school by two militants on a motorbike who followed him as he left home in al-Arish.

Five days earlier, jihadists shot dead Bahgat Zakher, a Christian veterinary surgeon, also in al-Arish, North Sinai. In late January, Wael Milad, a Coptic merchant, was killed by jihadists who stormed his shop.

The list of Coptic victims in North Sinai continues to grow. Reports have just been released on Arabic Media of a young Coptic woman, Youstina Kamel, and her father, Kamel Raouf, who were both slaughtered hours apart this morning, with the young woman’s body found dumped behind an al-Arish Police Station.

These heinous attacks coincide with the release of a video by the Islamic State in Egypt (titled “And fight against the disbelievers”), which threatens to eradicate Christians from Egypt. The video features a man claimed to be the suicide bomber responsible for the bombing of the main Coptic Christian Cathedral last December in Cairo, where 29 worshippers were killed and dozens more injured.

It is clear the situation in North Sinai has become critically dangerous for the Christians remaining there, as they are a soft target for anti-Government militants. In 2010 over 1000 Coptic Christian families lived in al-Arish. As a result of recent unrest in the area, that number has dropped to less than 400 families.

Those who remain fear for their lives and have made urgent calls for help.

The ACM calls on the Egyptian Government to immediately facilitate the following:
1. Safely evacuate all Coptic Christians from al-Arish and surrounding districts;
2. Secure the properties of Coptic Christians in the area (ie their homes, businesses and churches) until the situation stabilises;
3. the Ministry of Higher Education to facilitate the flexible transfer of students to other provinces.
4. all terrorists responsible for these attacks be brought to justice, including those who incite violence against Copts in Egypt.
Swift and decisive action must be taken by the Egyptian Government to protect the Coptic Christian community in North Sinai, before any more innocent lives are lost at the hands of extremist militants.

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The Australian Coptic Movement Association

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