01/22/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – A Coptic Christian man traveling on a microbus in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was kidnapped by Islamic militants on January 18th. Abeed Nakhla Yassa was traveling to the city of al-Arish, his home city which he had originally left in 2017 after Islamists killed seven Christians in a space of three weeks. According to his nephew, Abeed was traveling back to al-Arish in order to follow up on a personal business matter.
Eyewitnesses say the microbus was stopped about 50 km away from the city by a group of armed men checking IDs. The men were looking for police or military recruits, but took Abeed away when they saw his ID marked Christian. The bus was allowed to continue on its journey while Abeed was carried away the the armed men. Security officials claim that they have killed one kidnapper and injured two. Abeed, however, has not been located. It is believed that he was likely killed.
It is extremely dangerous for Christians to live and travel in the Sinai region. A series of attacks against Christians by Islamic militants in early 2017 caused hundreds of families living in al-Arish to flee. Since then, any Christian who has attempted to return to their home in al-Arish has been killed. The most recent attack occurred on January 13, 2018 when an al-Arish Christian was gunned down by militants searching for Christians.
The Egyptian security forces have long been embroiled in a battle against Islamic militants in Sinai. In some places, such as al-Arish, they have been unable to restore a sense of control and normalcy. Meanwhile, Christians who previously lived in this area have continued to struggle with the consequences of their displacement.
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