Ismailia (Agenzia Fides) - Local volunteers of the Red Crescent are among the groups engaged in offering aid and reception to Coptic Egyptians who fled from al Arish and northern Sinai, following a series of killings in recent weeks against the Christian community, referred to as "the favorite prey" by Egyptian jihadist groups affiliated to the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh). The majority of Christians have reached the city of Ismailia, on the west bank of the Suez Canal, halfway between Port said and Suez. In the city – refer local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - also the Red Crescent are providing assistance to ensure that Christian displaced families receive accommodation and the supply of basic necessities. In the last hours, the exodus towards Ismailia has increased, even entire family clans belonging to Muslim Bedouin tribes historically rooted in North Sinai, is a sign of growing tension that the region is going through.
The emergency of Coptic Christians who have fled from al Arish and the region of North Sinai after the series of seven murders that affected members of the Christian communities, has provoked significant reactions from different Egyptian Islamic realities (see Fides 27/02/2017) .
The House of Fatwa (Dar al Ifta al Misryah), the Egyptian body chaired by the Grand Mufti of Egypt and responsible for disseminating guidance pronouncements and dissolve doubts and disputes regarding the application of the precepts of the Koran, has issued a statement to condemn the series of murders, stressing that the orchestrated campaign by jihadist groups against the indigenous Christians of Egypt aims explicitly to sabotage national unity. Even the spokesmen of al-Nur, the ultra-conservative Salafi Party, have publicly expressed their condemnation for the targeted killings of Coptic Christians in the north of Sinai, stressing that they "go against the teachings of Islam".
When the series of killings of Christians in Sinai had already begun, Daesh had spread a video message in which it claimed a new campaign of targeted violence against the Copts, defined by jihadists as "the favorite prey". The video message shows the young suicide bomber who on December 11 blew himself up in the church of Botrosiya, adjacent to the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, killing 29 people. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 04/03/2017)