(EGYPT) Fears that #IslamicState once again threatens the lives of some of the Middle East’s largest Christian population have emerged again, after the radical militant group killed an Coptic businessman who’d funded the construction of the only church in his north Sinai village #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.07: Salama was ambushed, then abducted at gunpoint in a hijacked vehicle on the eve of 7 Nov, 2020 as he was on the street for a local errand in his village Bir-al-Abd. In the scuffle, as Nabil tried to fight off his three armed, unmasked attackers, he dropped his mobile phone. It was later retrieved by passers-by and returned to his family. This small detail has some significance, as reported below.

EGYPT: Death threats, by #IslamicState in Sinai, against Egyptian Copt sons who mourn dad: The death of 62 year old Nabil Habashy Salama was reported last week, but new points are worth emphasis.

Nabil Habashi Salama, taken by unseen watchers; he was 'executed' by ISIS, March 2021
World Watch Monitor

Nabil Habashi Salama, taken by unseen watchers; he was ‘executed’ by ISIS, March 2021

Nabil had been splitting his time between the village and El-Arish, a city about 68 miles east along the Mediterranean coast towards the border with the Gaza strip.

Five days after his abduction, on 12 Nov, his son Peter received a call from those holding his father. They allowed him to speak to Nabil, but said they needed 2 million Egyptian pounds (US $127,550 or GBP 91,2000) – not as hostage ransom but as a ‘jizya’ tax from the remaining Copts in the village – if they wanted to see Nabil return.

The kidnappers gave Peter 48 hours to collect the money. However, it then increased to 5 million Egyptian pounds (approximately US $321,000 or GBP 230,000) with an order that the Coptic Bishop, Cosman, would be given time to gather the money from all the local Christian families.

When, after some time, the kidnappers called him again, Peter said they had not been able to collect the amount of ‘jizya’ demanded. At this, the caller threatened that the group would kill Peter and his brother Fady, as well as their hostage father. Hearing this, the police asked the brothers to leave the local area, as they could not guarantee their safety.

On 1 January, shortly before Orthodox Christmas, under the stressful anxiety of fearing every day for their father’s life, the brothers now felt forced to leave everything behind and uproot their families to move.

Even then, there was another call: “We know where you are; we know everything about you”.

The last call came at the end of February “That was the last time I was able to speak to my Dad; we didn’t hear anymore after that” Peter told World Watch Monitor.

On Sunday 18 April , the day that Islamic State in Sinai posted the video – in which Habashy and two other Sinai tribesmen are killed – to its Telegram channel, the video was sent ‘at the first hour of dawn’ to the family, to their utter shock and horror. Again, threats against the two brothers’ lives accompanied it.

And those death threats have not stopped coming, even into this past week as the family grieved.  (Habashy also left a daughter Marina).

But one of the most disturbing aspects of the ‘announcement’ of the death of Nabil Habashy Salama is that it was often accompanied by a picture of him, apparently repairing the wall of his church building, a smile on his face. He looks pleased and content as he writes. At least one media outlet credits Nabil himself for the photo. But Peter had never seen it before – it did not belong to the family’s now-treasured collection of photos of their father. Peter told World Watch Monitor he believes the photo was taken by someone who’d been watching their Dad’s movements, perhaps even one of his kidnappers, if not killers. And for that reason, the family is acutely on edge, aware that the extremist militia who killed their dad have their phone number and continue to issue death threats.

‘Jizya’ tax on non-Muslims as protection money 

Under traditional Islamic lawjizya(h) is a tax per head paid by non-Muslimsonly to the authorities. According to Definition.net “From the point of view of Muslim rulers, jizya was…proof of the non-Muslims’ acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws. In return, non-Muslims were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state’s protection from outside aggression, and to be exempt from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslims”.

When the jihadists captured Mosul and its surrounding plain in June 2014, they reinstated the traditional Islamic ultimatum to Christians: convert, pay jizya, leave or be killed. Since then, occasionally hard-line Muslim clerics have called for its re-imposition on Christians.

In 2012, Bishop Cosman said that, of about 4-500,000 people in his diocese of North Sinai – an area 200km long and 127km – there were only about 740 Christian families (c.3,000 individuals) so they were pretty scattered. To compare, over 2,000 Christian families then lived in the urban Cairo district of Hadayak al-Maadi.

In 2017, in just three weeks between January 30 and February 23, eight Coptic Christians were killed by Islamist militants. This prompted an exodus of about 350 families from El-Arish to other cities such as Port Said, Ismailia and even other parts of Egypt.

Father Youssef Sobhy, a priest at Saint Mary and St. Michael Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (the Archbishopric of North Sinai), told World Watch Monitor:

The majority of the Christian families fled El-Arish, after they felt they were targeted by those militants, their lives were in danger, and there wasn’t any protection for them. Police were focusing efforts on protecting the entry points to the city and police presence inside El-Arish is not as dense as it is around it.

In April 2017, the Islamic State affiliate took credit for twin suicide bombings that killed around 50 people at Coptic churches celebrating Palm Sunday in northern Egypt.

In addition to targeting Christians and state security forces, the insurgents in November 2017 opened fire on Sufi Muslims (who Islamic State believe to be heretical) be praying in a Bir al-Abd mosque, killing over 300.

However, the Egyptian army operation to regain security control across Northern Sinai has been very heavy-handed and even criticised by Human Rights Watch for human rights abuses. 
It says the military has effectively banned independent reporting from North Sinai and has prosecuted and imprisoned several journalists who covered events there.

A Copt activist told WWM: “Accountability about the failure of security plans is an urgent necessity, and the protection of Copts is a social, moral and humanitarian responsibility. What Copts need today are actions without words and not promises without action.

These murders of Christians nowadays are an ongoing scheme amidst a media blackout and that is not separated from the previous murderous crimes against Copts for years. The deadly hands are one and the same.

Those perpetrators haven’t been punished for their previous crimes.Leaving with impunity Islamic extremists who target and kill Copts for their religious identification drives them and others to increase targeting of Copts and killing them for their faith in Jesus Christ. 

This continued failure to protect the Copts is not justified, especially after the imposition of the state of emergency, amendments to the laws of terrorist entities and criminal penalties and procedures.

Sobhy Samy Abdul Nour, ambushed and killed in N. Sinai, 3 Mar, 2021

Previous incidents when Christians were targeted in N. Sinai

3 March 2021: ISIS members stopped the car of Sobhy Samy Abdul Nour, 40, (from Jazeerat Masoud village, El Husseiniya, Sharqia Governorate), 500m from the police checkpoint in Balouza village at the entrance to the North Sinai Governorate. The extremists shot him dead as soon as they found out that he was a Christian, then seized his car, ID card and mobile and threw his body onto the road before fleeing.
His funeral was held at Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in El Husseiniya city on 4 March 2021; he was buried in the family cemetery in Jazeerat Masoud village.

18 Jan, 2019: Armed militants kidnapped a 55 year old single man, Adeeb Nakhla Yassa, who was on a microbus on the coastal road to Arish city. Some 50 km west of the city, it was stopped by a group of armed men who boarded it and began checking the identity of the passengers, looking for police and military recruits or Christians. When they found out that Yassa was Christian, they ordered him to disembark and carried him off in a four-wheel drive vehicle. They let the bus continue its journey. Once the passengers reached their destination, they informed the police who in turn told Adeeb’s relatives.

May 2016. An employee in the Directorate of Health in North Sinai, Misak Nasrallah, was returning home on the workbus with colleagues. Masked men stopped the bus at gunpoint and asked if there was a Christian among the passengers. His Muslim colleagues asked the only Christian not to speak. They said ‘No, all of us are Muslims’. But Misak refused to deny Christ and said ‘Yes I’m a Christian’ showing them the cross on his right wrist. They took him out of the bus, said ‘You don’t deserve to live because you are Kaffir’ and shot him with 14 bullets, killing him instantly.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: May.07: 2021:

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#christian, #coptic, #egypt, #islamic-state, #sinai

EGYPT: ‘ SUICIDE BOMBER RAMMED EXPLOSIVE LADEN VEHICLE INTO ARMY CHECKPOINT ‘

#AceWorldNews – EGYPT – October 24 – A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an army checkpoint in the northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula near Israel and Gaza on Friday.

At least twenty five members of the Egyptian security forces were killed in the attack, according to medical and security officials.

Earlier reports said 17 people were wounded and several were in a critical condition.

The violence spiked in the Sinai after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Source: 

#ANS2014

#eygpt, #gaza, #israel, #sinai

EGYPT: ‘ Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdi’s Terrorist Organisation Seek Support of North Sinai Residents’

#AceWorldNews – EGYPT (Cairo) – September 07 – Egypt news reported that Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis, a group labelled as a terrorist organization by Egypt and the US, distributed a pamphlet to residents of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid, North Sinai seeking their support against the military.

four_sinai_people_killed_by_ansar_bayt_al-maqdis_for_spying_for_israel

According to security sources and eyewitnesses, the group has lost a great deal of its balance after being pounded by military and police operations and the anger of Sinai tribes after nine youth were killed by the group over alleged cooperation with Israel and the security forces.

 

“We want to answer your concerns. You might be asking who we are. We are your sons of the Mujahideen of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, men of this country, grey-haired and young. We might be your neighbours or your relatives, but we are preoccupied with this nation. We want its goodness and we reject humiliation, slavery, or to be ruled by other than God’s law,” the statement read. “Be with us in order to implement God’s religion. We are not more courageous and bestowing than you are.  But the nation needs more of you and if you are not with us, do not be with our enemies.” 

 

Tribal sources in North Sinai confirmed that this statement is not the first of its kind in the region, but it is the first in Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid and the first time elements of the group distribute a statement publicly to citizens. 

 

Security sources said that the group is losing ground and is trying to come back through a popular cover, pointing out that a state of anger prevails in Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid because of the practices of the group.

 

The sources added that police receive daily tips by citizens about roadside bombs planted by the group.

 #ANS2014

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Source: 

#egypt, #rafah, #sinai

` Emergency `Alert ‘ as the town of `St. Catherine in Sinai ‘ was hit by a Flood ‘

#AceWorldNews says sixteen people have been killed in two weather-related bus accidents following Egypt’s heavy rain, which has caused floods and damage in several regions, Al-Ahram News on-line reported.

The deadly incidents occurred in Minya governorate in Upper Egypt, near the resort town of Hurghada on the Red Sea.

Authorities declared an emergency alert as the town of St. Catherine in Sinai was hit by a flood. Residents of the town are reportedly in a state of panic, with the flooding expected to reach its main market area.

#ANS2014

#al-ahram-news, #egypts, #hurghada, #red-sea, #sinai

#Egypt : Sinai Militant Group warns tourists to leave country before February 20 before it is too late”

#AceBreakingNews says that Militant group warns tourists to leave Egypt before Feb 20

The Islamist militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has warned tourists to leave Egypt “before it’s too late.” It also threatened, on an affiliated Twitter account, to attack anyone who stays in the country after the February-20 deadline, Reuters said.

The Sinai-based group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday.

#egypt, #egyptian, #militant, #reuters, #sinai, #south-korean, #suicide-bombing