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UK Coptic Church warns of "alarming" rise in attacks, as Egyptian Christians flee
A recent spate of deadly attacks on Christians in North Sinai has been described as "alarming" by the Coptic Church in the UK.
Hundreds of believers have fled the Egyptian province after the seventh member of their community was killed by Islamic State in less than one month.
General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Bishop Angaelos told Premier: "What we haven't seen done robustly across Egypt in all of these situations is people actually being brought to account and this gives rise to a sense of impunity, where certain crimes are going to be seen as unchecked and unpunished.
"It also, I think, gives a sense of criminal confidence, where criminals are actually intensifying their attacks and making them even more barbaric..."
According to Reuters, the spike in violence has prompted more than 200 Christian students have leave the provincial capital, Arish, while local church leaders say 100 of approximately 160 families in North Sinai are leaving.
Residents in Arish claimed Islamist extremists have been sharing death lists on the internet and the streets, and warning Christians to leave the area or face death.
Coptic Christians, who comprise of approximately ten per cent of the country's population, have long complained of persecution.
President al-Sisi were quoted by Reuters as ordering military and police chiefs to "to completely eradicate terrorism in northern Sinai and defeat any attempts to target civilians or to undermine the unity of the national fabric" after the killings.
Bishop Angaelos went on to say: "At the level of president [and] national government, the right things are being said and, to a certain extent, the right things are being done.
"Where we are seeing a shortfall is in the regional and local settings; local law enforcement is not really doing what it needs to be doing, sometimes because of a lack of resources but sometimes it also seems to be a lack of intention."
A bomb attack on a church in Cairo on 11th December 2016 claimed the lives of 25 people.
Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Bishop Angaelos:
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