ISIS terrorist group claims abduction of Coptic man in North Sinai
Egypt’s ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for abducting a Coptic man in Sinai about one week ago, a website supporting ISIS in North Sinai said on Saturday.
The relatives of Adib Nakhla, 45, learned of his kidnapping a week ago, but could not confirm that he was held by ISIS, said a source that is close to the family.
Unknown armed men stopped a car Nakhla was traveling in, the source said, explaining that he was on his way from Qantara city in Ismailia (west Sinai) to Arish city in North Sinai.
They forcibly grabbed him from among a group of passengers in the bus after checking their personal IDs, he added.
“Nakhla is among a group of Copts living in Qantara city. He was on his way to visit his family and friends who live in Arish when they lost contact with him.”
“His family were surprised to see his picture published with a statement asserting his abduction by terrorists without further details about his fate” the source noted.
The terrorist group posted a statement on social media along with a picture of someone holding papers and facing an unknown person, without mentioning his name.
Gunmen ambushed an area west of Arish and captured the forensic expert, one of Egypt’s Christians, the statement said.
On Tuesday, the military said Egyptian security forces had killed 59 militants in the Sinai peninsula recently and had lost seven of their own men.
The military launched in mid-February the Comprehensive Operation − Sinai 2018 to restore security in the mountainous and densely populated governorate.
Bishop of North Sinai Anba Qazman announced during Christmas celebrations in Arish’s Archdiocese earlier this month that local authorities in North Sinai have assured him of the return of all Copts to North Sinai during 2019.
Copts have fled north Sinai after being targeted by ISIS over the past three years.
According to security and church sources, only about 40 Coptic families remain in northern Sinai and live in secured houses within Arish.