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ICC Note: As many as 30 families have left their homes in the North Sinai region of Egypt following threats from extremists groups. The Egyptian military has been active in trying to control the Islamic extremists known to operate in the area, but the result has been increasing violence directed at the civilians in the area. Some of the groups operating in the Sinai have sworn allegiance to ISIS and this has further encouraged them in their targeting of Christians.

03/02/2015 Egypt (Cairo Post) A number of Christian families have fled their homes in North Sinai after receiving threats from extremists demanding they leave, said Abaoub Girgis, a North Sinai-based lawyer.

Between 27-30 Coptic families temporarily left their houses in Arish and other cities in North Sinai, Girgis, the coordinator of the Egypt’s Copts Coalition in the peninsula, told The Cairo Post Monday.

He claimed that some of the fleeing families received threats on their phones.
An unprecedented security campaign is taking place in the troubled northern part of the Peninsula against Islamist radical groups who have killed hundreds of army and police personnel in several attacks that escalated since the ouster of the President Mohamed Morsi July 3, 2013.

“Sinai residents are still paying the bill of June 30 [events] with kidnappings, killings, targeting and torching homes and churches and attacking innocents,” read a statement issued by the coalition.

Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) militant group, which has recently proclaimed itself as “Wilayat Sinai” or (The State of Sinai,) has released videos of its attacks and executions of army personnel and beheadings of Bedouins they have accused of collusion with the Egyptian military or Israel.

In November 2014, the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, which controls wide swathes in Syria and Iraq.

According to Girgis, a recent gruesome video released by The IS branch in Libya showing the beheading of 20 kidnapped Egyptian Copts in Sirte city has also negatively affected the Christian families residing in the peninsula.

He said that Coptic residents are “afraid to reveal their names or identities to the media or even to me.”

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