Islamic State warned Tuesday it will increase terrorist attacks against Christians in the coming weeks.
ISIS vowed to escalate its “war on polytheism.” Polytheism is generally considered to be a reference to Christianity in Egypt. The terrorist group issued the warning Tuesday after claiming a deadly terrorist attack on Coptic Christians in Cairo, Egypt, which left 25 dead Sunday.
“Let all the disbelievers and apostates in Egypt and everywhere know that our war on polytheism is ongoing, and that the State of the Caliphate – with permission from Allah the Almighty – will continue to spill their blood and grill their bodies, so that there is no sedition and the religion is all for Allah,” said ISIS in a statement, according to SITE Intelligence Group.
ISIS purposefully targeted Christian communities in Iraq and Syria during its initial rise in 2014, and continues to massacre them to this day. Many of Iraq’s ancient Christian communities, particularly in the Ninevah Plains region, are now destroyed. Some of them, like the Assyrian and Chaldean sects, date back to the earliest days of Christianity.
Egypt maintains a large Coptic Christian community, though it was largely left unscathed by terrorist attacks until the Sunday morning attack which targeted worshipers in St. Peter’s church in Cairo. The church is located beside St. Mark’s Cathedral, which serves as the seat of the Coptic church and home to its leader, Pope Tawadros II.
ISIS established a province in Egypt’s Sinai region, just south of Israel, in November 2014. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered military operations against the group shortly thereafter.
The U.S. Department of State and British government warned in late November that there was an increased risk of terrorist attacks in Europe during the Christmas season. European holiday markets are a popular tourist destination, making them a potential target for ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
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