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Second Egypt Christian murdered in a week

by Aaron James

According to AP, Gamal Tawfiq, 50 and a Christian schoolteacher, was shot by two gunmen on a motorbike as he was walking home from El-Samran School in the city of el-Arish.

It's believed the gunmen are affiliated to Islamic State, but the group has not claimed responsibility for the murder.

Gamal Tawfiq's murder comes after Bahgat Zakher's murder in el-Arish last week. Both men were Coptic Christians. A third Copt, Wael Milad, was also murdered in the city in January.

Ishaq Ibrahim, from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said: "For long, incidents of shooting and killing Christians were sporadic, but recently we are witnessing an increase that I think will turn into a repetitive pattern in el-Arish.

The Egyptian Church is still recovering from a spate of five murders across the country in January. All of the victims had their throats slit: a method often employed by Islamic State.

The country recently mourned the deaths of 28 Coptic Christians after IS suicide bombers blew themselves up in St Peter and St Paul's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the capital Cairo in December last year.

Egypt's Muslim president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a time of national mourning after the attack and publicly condemned it alongside Egypt's Grand Mufti, one of its most senior Islamic scholars.

Advocacy charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide recently released a report saying that while President el-Sisi had secured some improvements for persecuted believers since Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Morsi was ousted, there are still areas of serious concern.

The report said violence against believers was increasing, with security forces failing to adequately protect Christians and courts failing to deliver them justice.

It also found there are still significant legal barriers to the construction and opening of churches.

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