Attacks on Copts in Sinai ‘a message from ISIL’

By Farah Najjar | Al Jazeera

The latest string of attacks in northern Sinai’s El Arish against Coptic Christians were indirect attempts by armed groups to undermine the government, according to Egyptian experts and analysts.

Hundreds of Copts fled their homes last week after seven Copts were killed over a span of 21 days, in deadly shooting and arson attacks. An estimated 150 families – more than 400 people – began arriving at the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, the closest to El Arish, seeking refuge in the Evangelical church on Thursday.

The recent incidents have shed light and raised questions about the lack of security for residents, particularly minorities, in the peninsula. Mina Thabet, a researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, a local non-governmental organisation, described the incident as an “exodus”.