Two Coptic citizens were found killed on Wednesday inside the North Sinai’s city of Al-Arish. Their copses had been thrown behind a state-run language school inside Al-Arish, a member of parliament (MP) representing Al-Arish city, Hossam El Refaay, told Daily News Egypt.
The two corpses belong to an elderly Coptic man named Saied Hakim—65 years old—and his son, Medhat Saied—45 years old. The father was killed by gunshots to his head, a local journalist said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, his son was burnt alive. The two are believed to have been subjected to a kidnapping conducted by anonymous militants, days before the killing took place. The kidnappers are suspected to be members of the IS-affiliated group of “Sinai Province.”
On a regular basis, Coptic citizens inside North Sinai are being subjected to kidnapping by militants and are brutally killed. The main goal of these operations is to force Coptic citizens inside Al-Arish to leave, said MP Hossam El Refaay.
El Refaay asserted to Daily News Egypt on Wednesday that the kidnappings conducted by “Sinai Province” target both Coptic and Muslim citizens, adding that these operations are furthermore aiming to create sectarian strife between Muslims and Coptic citizens in North Sinai.
“The investigations regarding the burnt Coptic citizen and his killed father are still ongoing. There is no information regarding the identity of the perpetrators of the incident until now. We, as parliament members representing North Sinai, ask on a regular basis for rapid revision of the security strategy in the governorate,” El Refaay noted.
A week ago, a veterinary doctor was assassinated by anonymous militants, who shot him while he was leaving his private clinic in Al-Obour suburb in Al-Arish, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
According to the newspaper, the killed veterinary doctor is a Coptic resident of Al-Arish and was subjected to heavy shooting from militants immediately after he left the clinic.
“The Coptic veterinary doctor was killed by militants of the IS-affiliated group of ‘Sinai Province,’ as they have recently targeted the city’s Coptic residents. His name is Bahgat William Zakhar,” a North-Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt at that time— speaking on condition of anonymity.
Residents of North Sinai’s cities of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah are regularly being subjected to numerous kidnappings and killings carried out by militants affiliated to the “Sinai Province” group. Many residents, suspected to be army and security operators by the militants, are affected.
Since 2013, state security forces, represented by both the army and the police, have been engaged in violent clashes with “Sinai Province”, previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to IS and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.
Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian armed forces have launched counterattacks against militant stationing points across the Sinai Peninsula where the group is based, particularly in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish.