Gunmen Target Egyptian Christians, Shoot Down Man In Sinai

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Three gunmen shot and killed a man in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in what authorities said is only the latest attack explicitly targeting Egypt’s Christians.

Egyptian officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity and said the victim was Bassem Attallah, a 35-year-old Christian man. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however, officials said it bears all the signs of an attack by Islamic State insurgents, who have targeted Christians in Egypt since 2016.

The attack comes in the wake of another shooting on New Year’s Eve, in which a gunman killed two Coptic Christian brothers and shot up their liquor store. Authorities said it was not clear whether the attack was an act of Islamic extremism or the result of New Year’s revelry. The incident happened only days after ISIS’ attack on a Coptic church in Cairo where gunmen killed nine people before being confronted by local residents and shot down by police.

ISIS insurgents continue to carry out guerrilla attacks throughout North Africa and the Middle East despite suffering major and near eradication in Iraq and Syria. They have led an insurgency in northern Sinai for years and have killed over 100 Egyptian Christians since December 2016, and some experts fear that such attacks could increase as ISIS sends more militants to Sinai and other places in response to being disbanded in Iraq and Syria.

Coptic Christians are Egypt’s largest religious minority, numbering at 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 93 million people.


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