In breaking news, the International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that Coptic priest Raphael Moussa, age 46, was shot in the head on June 30 in El Arish, the capital of North Sinai. The attack came as Egypt marked the third anniversary of the mass protests against the military coup, which ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Moussa, a father of two, was killed by jihadi militants after leading mass at the Saint George Orthodox church in El Arish. ISIS was quick to claim responsibility on social media, accusing the Egyptian priest of “combating Islam.”
Islamic State’s Egyptian branch has been waging an insurgency in the Sinai for some time now as they have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in the region.
Despite a huge military campaign to stop the jihadists, ISIS has been able to maintain its threat through roadside bombs and ambushes.
According to an Egyptian church representative, this is not the first priest killed by the extremist group in Egypt. In July 2013, Father Mina Aboud was fatally shot by the same group three days after the military toppled President Mohamed Morsi’s government.
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When Morsi was ousted by the military, clashes erupted throughout Egypt between military forces and Morsi supporters, killing hundreds of civilians. Shortly thereafter, Muslim extremists in Egypt began attacking Coptic communities, torching homes and churches, due to the perception that minorities helped bring about Morsi’s downfall.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We mourn with the family of father Raphael Moussa as they have experienced a terrible loss of both a father and husband. It is a travesty that a man who has dedicated his life to the service of others be killed in such cold blood. We condemn the Islamic State in Egypt and their endless toiling to rid the world of religious minorities and God-given freedoms. ICC calls on the Egyptian government to pay particular attention to the plight of Christians within their borders as they are facing an ever growing threat from radical Islamists.”
“Now, as three years have passed, we are seeing continuing and increasing attacks against Christians. From kidnappings to property destruction to forced conversions, the Egyptian Christian community is facing a great wall of persecution.”
Earlier this month, an Egyptian court sentenced President Mohamed Morsi to life in prison. During the 2011 Islamic uprising in Egypt, the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton support the Muslim Brotherhood and their candidate Mohamed Morsi.
President Obama, with the Morsi election, called Morsi with congratulations and Secretary of State, and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton flew to Cairo to express the administration sentiments and well wishes personally.
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