Coptic priest shot dead in North Sinai attack

A Coptic priest was shot dead in Arish, North Sinai on Thursday, the Coptic Orthodox Church announced in a statement.

Priest Rafael Moussa from Mar Girgis Church in Arish was attacked on his way back from delivering a sermon on June 30, the third anniversary of the mass protests that resulted in the deposition of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The church strongly condemned “all terrorist attacks that threaten the safety of the country and target the unity of its people” in its statement.

Moussa, 46, was appointed to the Sinai Church in March 2012, and leaves behind a wife and two children.

Also on Thursday, a low-ranking policeman was killed and an officer and two conscripts injured when a police vehicle was bombed in Arish, according to the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. Security sources say the bomb was planted on a road close to Arish Police Station and was detonated as the vehicle was passing by.

This is the second attack on a Coptic priest after Morsi’s deposition. Mina Aboud Sharoubim was assassinated in a similar attack in July 2013, days after Morsi’s ouster.

A series of attacks on churches and Coptic properties in Upper Egypt in August 2013 followed, after the bloody dispersal of two pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest camps.

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