05/07/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Saturday, May 6, a Christian man in El-Arish, Egypt, was shot and killed by four masked men while inside his barbershop. This is the first Christian to be murdered by masked men in El-Arish since seven were killed in a series of murders over the months of January and February, causing hundreds of Christian families to flee the city.
Nabeel Saber Fawzi, age 40, and his family, including a wife and two children, were among the hundreds of Christian families to flee El-Arish in late February 2017.
“Nabeel and his family fled to Port Said where they lived in a small apartment in a youth house,” a relative of Fawzi, wishing to remain anonymous, told ICC.
“On April 27, Nabeel decided to leave his wife and children in Port Said to return and reopen his barbershop in Arish because he did find any job in Port Said to meet the physical needs of his family,” the relative explained.”Plus, he thought that the situation had become quiet and stable in Arish.”
“He was opening his barbershop from time to time over the last 10 days,” the relative continued. “On Saturday, May 6, four masked gunmen broke into his shop and shot him in the head resulting in immediate death.”
Starting in late January through February, seven Christians in El-Arish were murdered under similar circumstance. As this series of targeted murders was taking place, an Islamic State affiliate in the Sinai promised to eliminate Egypt’s Christian minority claiming Egyptian Christians were the group’s “favorite prey.” Since then, ISIS attacks across Egypt have dramatically increased, including the bombing of two churches on Palm Sunday killing at least 45 and injuring another 126.
William Stark, ICC’s regional manager, said, “We are deeply concerned for the developing situation in Egypt. This year has already been a difficult year for many Christians in Egypt, especially those displaced by the El-Arish murders and those affected by the Palm Sunday bombings. Unfortunately, many of the Christian families displaced from El-Arish find themselves in situations similar to Nabeel. Cut off from their homes and livelihoods, many are finding it difficult to provide for themselves. More has to be done by Egypt’s authorities to confront ISIS and secure Christian communities across Egypt. Until then, it is likely we will continue to see attacks on Christians and their places of worship.”