05/08/2017, 09.25
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North Sinai, a 50-year-old Christian executed by the Islamic State

Nabil Saber Ayoub was shot dead in a barber shop in the late evening of May 6. Daesh threatens violence against Christians; people and property targeted. Also found the corpses of a father and his two sons, previously abducted. Behind the execution the accusation of "collaboration" with the authorities.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of armed men shot dead an Egyptian Christian in a barber shop. The execution took place in the late evening of 6 May in the city of Al-Arish, capital of the North Sinai governorate, where a wave of violence against the religious minority has caused hundreds of families to flee in the recent weeks. There are armed bands and Islamic State affiliated jihadist groups operating in the area, fighting Cairo's security forces for control over the territory.

The latest attack in a long series follows a new threat launched by Daesh [Arabic acronym for IS], announcing further attacks on Christians and their property in the region. The jihadist group has claimed the assassination in a short message yesterday through the official Aamaq's "Caliphate" agency.

Official security sources report that the victim is the 50-year-old Nabil Saber Ayoub. Prior to him, nine other Christians were killed in the northern Sinai, in the context of attacks by jihadists affiliated with IS.

In total, since last December, at least 75 members of the religious minority (about 10% of the total population) have been killed by Islamic fundamentalists. These include the victims of the explosions at churches last month and the faithful who died in the context of the attack on the Coptic cathedral of St. Mark in Abassiya, Cairo, in December.

The escalation of violence had also made many fear the cancellation of Pope Francis's apostolic journey in Egypt, scheduled for late April. However, the pontiff wanted to respect the initial program by meeting with the president of the Republic al-Sisi, the great imam of al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb, and celebrated a mass in front of tens of thousands of faithful..

In recent days, the Egyptian authorities have rediscovered the decapitated corpses of a father and two of his sons, previously kidnapped by Daesh militiamen. In the context of the kidnapping last week, the jihadists had executed the mother of the two young men. This happened in the city of Rafah, located in the North Sinai region as well. The jihadists accused the family of "collaboration" with the government of Cairo.

Egyptian affiliated IS groups have long been promoting an insurgency in the area, striking period those who are accused of being informers for the authorities. Kidnappings and brutal killings serve as a deterrent to the entire population. The violence campaign intensified at the end of 2013, following the deposition and arrest of former President Mohammad Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brothers (now an outlawed movement).

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