ICC Note: The Northern Sinai has been the location of the most recent battles between the Egyptian military and Islamic extremists. Like other governates in the country, Copts are being displaced by force. 27 families fled the region this past February. The targeting of Coptic families began in 2013 with the isolation of former president Mohammed Morsi. Now as the threat of Islamic extremism reaches further into the Northern Sinai, Coptic families are once again being forced to flee for fear of being kidnapped or killed.
07-01-2015 Egypt (Al Monitor): In the North Sinai governorate, battles are raging between the Egyptian army and jihadist groups such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the Movement for Unity and Jihad. Now, like in other governorates, Copts are being forcibly displaced.
Egypt’s Copts Coalition in North Sinai issued a Feb. 27 statement reporting that 27 Christian families from different parts of the North Sinai governorate — mostly from el-Salam suburb in el-Arish — fled the region in February.
Abanob Gerges, the coordinator of the coalition, told Al-Monitor that the targeting of Copts began following the participation of the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II, in the statement of the armed forces July 2, 2013, which led to the isolation of former President Mohammed Morsi.
As a result, jihadist groups burned down the St. George Church in el-Arish, following the breakup of the sit-in held by Morsi supporters Aug. 14, 2013, in Rabia al-Adawiya compound. The armed forces arrested a number of those involved in the church’s burning, without stating their political affiliations.
Gerges added that the first assassination of a Copt was the murder of the secretary of Bishop Kosman (Cosmas) of North Sinai, Rev. Mina Aboud, at the hands of armed groups in el-Arish, where he was shot to death July 6, 2013.