A new video released today by the Islamic State in Egypt (titled “And fight against the disbelievers”) targets the Coptic Christian community, which is still reeling from the suicide bombing of a church service inside the main Coptic Christian Cathedral compound in December that killed 29 worshipers and injured dozens more.
The suicide bomber is featured in the new Islamic State video.
Just a week ago, I reported at PJ Media on the continued terror campaign directed at the Christian community in Egypt — the largest Christian population in the entire Middle East — noting the climbing death toll from the Dec. 11th bombing of the Two Saints church directly adjacent to the cathedral in Cairo.
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) December 11, 2016
In addition to the 29 victims of the church bombing, another seven Coptic Christians have been murdered since that time, including two just this past week.
Militants kill Christian in Sinai, second in a week https://t.co/V2hxvJ1TXw
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) February 17, 2017
Now comes the Islamic State video, which undoubtedly marks an increased targeting of the Coptic Church.
Islamic State published a video on Sunday threatening Egyptian Christians and showing the last statement of a man it said was responsible for the deadly bombing in December of a Coptic cathedral in Cairo.
The masked man in battle-dress, whom the group identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, is seen encouraging militants all over the world not to give up and promising Islamists jailed in Egypt they will be freed soon, when the group “liberates” Cairo.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had already identified the bomber as a 22-year-old student called Mahmoud Shafik, and it is believed Abu Abdallah al-Masri was his assumed name. He had been detained for two months in 2014 before joining an Islamic State cell in Sinai, the government said.
“Finally, to my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve. I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity. We will come bearing explosives, I swear we will, so rejoice you believers,” he said in the video.
Includes clip from Abu Abdullah al-Masry, the suicide bomber who blew himself up on 11DEC16 at the St Paul and St Peter's Church in Cairo
— Jantzen Garnett (@JantzenGarnett) February 19, 2017
— Pieter Nanninga (@pieternanninga) February 19, 2017
Probably poor timing on the part of Pope Francis, whose visit with Coptic Pope Tawadros II is included in the Islamic State video:
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) February 19, 2017
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the anti-Christian rhetoric of the Islamic State and that of the Muslim Brotherhood:
— Bassem (@BBassem7) January 23, 2017
The anti-Christian incitement by Muslim Brotherhood supporters even extends to the U.S.:
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) September 27, 2016
Back in August, I reported on my April 2014 trip into Upper Egypt to survey the damage done to the churches, monasteries, orphanages, and Christian businesses during the Muslim Brotherhood’s August 2013 terror campaign:
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) August 14, 2016
And just this week was the second anniversary of the Islamic State video in Libya showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.
When the friends and families of those murdered Coptic Christians received permission to build a church to their memory in the village in Upper Egypt where many of them came from, the Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t exercise any restraint.
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) March 29, 2015
Thanks to the increased incitement, attacks on Christians in Egypt have been occurring weekly.
The Associated Press reports on the two killings just this past week:
Suspected Islamic militants gunned down a Coptic Christian teacher on his way to school in northern Sinai on Thursday, the second killing of a Christian in less than a week in the turbulent region, officials said, amid fears of escalating attacks on Christians.
Gamal Tawfiq, 50, was shot in the head by two militants on a motorbike who followed him as he walked from home to work at El-Samran School in the coastal city of el-Arish. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, but a security official said the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai was the prime suspect.
A school official confirmed Tawfiq’s death to The Associated Press but declined to give details. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
On Sunday, suspected militants gunned down a local vet, Bahgat Zakher, in el-Arish, and in late January, Wael Milad, a merchant, was killed by militants who stormed his shop. Both were Coptic Christians.
As I reported in early January, these random attacks have been occurring throughout Egypt, and not just in the Sinai:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) January 3, 2017
Over its 2,000-year history, the Coptic Church has shown its resiliency, devotion, and growth in the face of severe persecution, thereby proving the maxim stated by the ancient North African Church Father Tertullian: “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”