On Saturday 30 June a minister in Egypt’s northern Sinai was gunned down as he prepared to return home following a church service. Raphail Moussa was shot four times in the head by multiple gunmen, according to police. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility on social media for his murder, posting that “Islamic State soldiers were able to successfully target the priest Moussa Azmi, known as Rafael [sic], who fights Islam.”
This is the second murder of a church leader in Al Arish by IS. The first was shot outside his church in 2013.
Since the fall of President Mohammad Morsi in 2013, the Egyptian government has struggled to contain the rise of groups affiliated to IS in the northern Sinai, despite repeated military operations. Whilst the conflict has primarily been between IS factions and the Egyptian military, Christians have been targeted in attacks and kidnappings, and many have fled the region seeking safety elsewhere.