(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI ARABIAN NEWSPAPER ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Cairo- Ismailia Militants taking part in the Egypt-based offshoot of ISIS, located in the Sinai Peninsula, have taken their brutality to the streets of civilian neighborhoods in the city of al Arish, eye witnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat.
ISIS hardliners destroyed monitoring cameras and carried out vandalism against commercial shops, handing down leaflets reading that a local minority of Christian Coptic people will be facing exile soon.
Christian families fled most of Arish areas as violence attacks increasingly targeted the Coptic minority. Neighboring city of Ismailia, west of Arish, welcomed escapees fleeing ISIS brutality.
Over the course of three weeks at least eight Christians were killed in Egyptian city with their homes burnet to the ground, an act that forced dozens to flee the area.
Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.
Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. ISIS, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.
Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches, and forced displacement.
Arish residents said militants circulated death lists online and on the streets, warning Christians to leave or die.
The Coptic Orthodox Church denounced “the recurring terrorist incidents in North Sinai targeting Christian citizens” in a statement on Friday.