Some 48 families have received apartments in Mostaqbal City, Ismailia governorate, according to Father Youssef Shoukry, the pastor of Saint Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church in Ismailia, who is in charge of the welfare of Coptic Christian families that fled systematic attacks by terrorists in al-Arish, North Sinai.
The Social Solidarity Ministry and the relevant ministries in Ismailia provided this fully-furnished accommodation. Any families residing in camps were a priority, Shoukry added.
In a statement on Saturday, Shoukry said 120 more apartments will be given to displaced families over the next few days. Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali said 72 other apartments will be delivered within a week, after they have been completely furnished. The Social Solidarity Ministry received four housing blocks from the Housing Ministry to accommodate the displaced Copts, until the situation in Arish calms down.
The Long Live Egypt Fund (Tahya Misr) has allocated five million Egyptian Pounds ($365,803) to support the displaced families from North Sinai, due to terrorist operations that target civilians.
The Social Solidarity Directorate in North Sinai says hundreds of Coptic Christian families have fled from Arish city for 13 different governorates. Coptic Christians started leaving the city late last month after Islamic State-affiliated militants threatened to kill them if they stayed in the city.
Seven Copts were killed by extremists in Arish in less than three weeks, including two people who were burned to death. The incidents sparked panic among Coptic families residing in the city and prompted them to move to other provinces, mainly Ismailia.
The killings came days after Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate, which is based in the Sinai Peninsula, vowed to step up attacks against the embattled Christian minority.
The IS group published a video threatening Egyptian Christians and showing the last statement of a man it said was responsible for the deadly bombing of a Coptic cathedral in Cairo in December.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Egypt Independent