Egyptian government says 258 Coptic Christian families fled al-Arish after ISIS attacks

The spate of deadly attacks by the Islamic State in Egypt has led 258 Coptic Christian families to flee al-Arish and seek refuge in 13 governorates, according to the Social Solidarity Directorate in North Sinai.

On Sunday, the directorate's head issued a statement saying the 258 Coptic families that fled ISIS attacks in North Sinai have moved to Assiut, Beni Suef, Cairo, Dakahlia, Fayoum, Gharbiya, Giza, Ismailia, Minya, Port Said, Qaliubiya, Sharqiya, and Sohag, Egypt Independent relays.

The exodus of Coptic Christian families from al-Arish was prompted last month by an ISIS video vowing to increase the intensity of attacks against the religious minority and threatening to kill them if they remained in the city. The video also shows a masked militant identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, who called on jailed Islamists not to give up hope as they will soon gain freedom when the terror group "liberates" Cairo.

After the video was posted, militants killed seven Copts in the area within just three weeks. Two of the victims of the ISIS attacks in al-Arish were burned to death. The string of killings sparked fear among the Copts in the city and pushed them to pack up their things and head to other governorates.

Meanwhile, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has already ordered the government to do everything to aid the fleeing Copts in their resettlement. He also met with the prime minister, ministers of defense and other government officials to talk about their efforts in fighting against the attempts to disrupt Egypt's stability and security, Reuters reports.

Orthodox Coptic Christians make up around 10 percent of the 90 million people in Egypt. The minority has long complained that they are being persecuted in their own country.

ISIS had earlier claimed responsibility for a December 2016 blast at a chapel attached to the St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo. The bombing left 28 people dead, most of which were women and children.

Source: Christian Daily