ISIS threatens more attacks against Egypt’s Christians

Terrorism | New video includes a statement from the attacker who bombed a Coptic church in December
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/20/17, 11:19 am

Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate on Sunday published a video that threatened more attacks on the country’s Christians and included a statement from the man who killed nearly 30 people in a December church bombing.

In the 20-minute video, the Islamic extremist group encourages its militants to continue to attack Coptic Christians. The narrator describes Egyptian Christians as Islamic State’s “favorite prey.”

The video includes footage of Egypt’s Coptic pope and several other Christians, labeling them infidels who empower the West against Muslim nations.

“God gave orders to kill every infidel,” one extremist carrying a weapon says in the video.

The footage also shows a man identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, who killed dozens of worshippers when he detonated a suicide bomb in a Coptic chapel in Cairo, Egypt’s capital. Egyptian officials had identified the bomber as Mahmoud Shafik, a 22-year-old student, following the attack. Al-Masri called on other militants to persevere and said they will soon liberate Cairo and be freed from captivity.

“We will come bearing explosives,” he said, a mask covering his face. “I swear we will, so rejoice you believers.”

Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s population, bear the brunt of most extremist attacks against Christians, which have increased in recent months. Suspected Islamic State militants killed two Coptic Christians in separate attacks this month in the country’s Sinai Peninsula, which has served as Islamic State’s stronghold.

The group’s logo in the video reads “Islamic State in Egypt,” a change from the previous reference to the Sinai Province. The Observatory for Extremist and Takfiri Thoughts, part of an Islamic legal research center in Egypt, said the terror group deliberately used the new logo as part of its strategy.

“This step only aims to give the impression that the ‘Sinai Province’ group’s operations exceed the Sinai Peninsula and they have reached Cairo, especially following the Cairo church attack that is considered a turning point in the IS terrorist work in Egypt,” the observatory said in a statement.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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