On 20th February Middle East Concern requested prayer after four Christians were killed in the North Sinai town of al-Arish in three weeks. Unfortunately three more Christians were killed in the following days. Saeed al-Hakim and his son Medhat were killed on 23rd February and the following day armed militants forced their way into the house of Kamal Youssef and shot him in front of his wife and children.
Previously militants had killed Wa’el Youssef (31st January), Bahgat William and Adel Shawqi (12th February) and Gamal Tawfiq (16th February). Three days after Gamal Tawfiq’s murder, militants from Daesh published a video in which they threatened to kill more Christians.
After the most recent killing on 24th February, Christian families started to flee from al-Arish. Many stated that militants had threatened that Christians would be killed if they did not leave. More than 118 Christian families have now left al-Arish, out of a total of 160 Christian families who were living in the city. Most have fled to the towns of Ismailiyyah and Suez, where local churches are looking after them.
Islamic militants also regularly attack security personnel in the North Sinai region and abduct or kill civilians suspected of working with the security forces. Last November in al-Arish they killed Suleiman Abu Haraz, a highly respected 100-year-old Sufi Muslim leader. Shortly afterwards they issued a threat against Sufi Muslims in Egypt, saying they must renounce their ways or be killed.
Last weekend militants also stopped female teachers travelling to their workplaces and threatened them with severe mistreatment if they do not wear Islamic dress or travel with male relatives.
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Christians in Egypt request prayer:
a. for the Lord’s comfort for all those whose loved ones were killed by Daesh in North Sinai
b. for provision for the physical and emotional needs of all those forced to flee al-Arish
c. for protection for Christians and others threatened by militants, and for an end to the threat posed by militants in the North Sinai region
d. that those responsible for the killings will be touched by God’s love and will repent