Middle East and North Africa

Targeted killing of Christians continues after hopes raised by Papal visit


Shortly after Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt, so-called Islamic State killed a church deacon, Nabil Saber Ayoub Mansour, in North Sinai.

Nabil’s killing brings to eight, the number of Coptic Christians targeted and killed by the Islamic Jihadists this year.

The 40-year-old who was a deacon at St Mary and St Michael Church, El-arish was shot dead on 6 May by four masked men.

A father of two, his family had fled to Port Said following threats, harassment and murders of Christians by Jihadists. Mansour’s wife, Halla Qadry Fares, 32, had stayed in Port Said.

Moheb Qadry Fares, his brother-in-law, said Mansour returned to El-Arish, Tuesday 2 May, because his son’s new primary school demanded a certificate proving that his son was sitting his final-year exams. He was unable to get the required certificate on the same day and was told to come back at a later date, according to eye-witness reports.

On Saturday 6 May at about 4:30pm, Mansour stepped out to the street for a better cell-phone signal when his wife called him on a cell phone. Four masked, armed men shot him with four bullets; two in the head, one in the stomach, and one in the shoulder. He died instantly, according to his neighbour, Fares and eyewitness to the killing.

According to Fares, the assassins said, “Why do you return back again, oh Kafir?” as they shot him and then made away with his ID card and his cell phone.

“There is a police checkpoint near Nabil’s home,” Fares said, “How did the police allow those masked gunmen to enter the area and kill Nabil in the daytime? Where was the security when this incident took place? None of them did anything.”

At Mansour’s funeral held at Mar Girgis church in Kozzaika, Helwan, Fr Moisses Noam said, “Murdering Nabil at this time is a clear message from those militants that they don’t want any Copts in El-Arish, and a clear threatening message to all the Copts who fled El-Arish that …if anyone of you return to El-Arish, his fate would be like the fate of Nabil”.

He went on to say since the killing of Mansour, some Christian families have decided to leave the city.

Seven other Christians were murdered between 30 January and 23 February. Eye witnesses to one of the killings, Nabila Fawzi Hanna, 65, said that one of the killers had a list of “many names”. After shooting her son and husband he asked her to confirm who they were and then ticked them off his list.