Most Christians living near Egypt’s border with Israel are fleeing their homes after and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop, a priest said on Friday,
The departure of nine families that made up the small Christian community in the border area of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula will fuel worries about religious tolerance and the rise of militancy after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last year.
“Coptic Christian families decided to leave … out of fear for their lives after the threats and the armed attack,” said Mikhail Antwan, priest at the Coptic Margirgis church in the North Sinai town of al-Arish.
Death threats had been printed on flyers circulating in the desert area.
Two armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire on a Coptic-owned shop in Rafah on Wednesday but no one was injured.
Two families from the small community had already left while the rest were still packing up their possessions in Rafah and Shaikh Zuwaid after living 20 years in the area.
All were planning to move to al-Arish, the administrative center of North Sinai, where security was better, the priest said.