Egypt has not been a stranger to terrorist activities across the Sinai Peninsula. Over 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million population belong to the Coptic Christian community, making them a sizeable minority that has been under attack from the Islamic State militants across Egypt, mainly near the northern Sinai regions. Hundreds have fled their homes with children and belongings, taking refuge near the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.
As per Amnesty, the government has failed to provide adequate protection to the community as the Minister of Parliamentary Affair confirmed that 150 more families have fled the al-Arish region. Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s regional office in Tunis, Najia Bounaim said, “This terrifying wave of attacks has seen Coptic Christians in North Sinai hunted down and murdered by armed groups. No one should face discrimination – let alone violent and deadly attacks – because of their religious beliefs.”
Islamic State fighters have enticed hate against the Orthodox Christian community for some years now, giving financial rewards to those who attack or exemplifying their acts in front of others. Between 30 January and 23 February, seen members of the community died, while in a video message, the Islamic State took responsibility for December 30 bombings on the Christians in Cairo.
Bounaim has asked the Egyptian government to ensure those who have fled their homes are compensated with proper living conditions elsewhere, while adequate security is provided. Many members of the community saw their family members killed and their houses looted in recent months.