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Christian gunned down in Egypt by masked men

Middle East and North Africa

Christian gunned down in Egypt by masked men


A young Christian man was gunned down last Saturday (13 January) after returning to his hometown following last year’s attacks on the Christian community.

Bassem Shehata Haraz, a 27-year-old Copt  returned to the town to work but was identified as a Christian and shot. He had originally fled along with the entire Christian community in February 2017  following the murders of multiple Christians by Islamic State militants.

Unable to find work in Cairo, he returned with his family to re-open his shop six months ago. In the early evening of 13 January, he and his brother, along with a Muslim friend, were stopped in the street by three armed, masked men.

On seeing Bessem had a cross tattooed on his wrist – a common practice among Copts – they asked if he was a Christian. When Bessem answered that he was, he was immediately shot. The masked men then ordered Bessem’s brother and a Muslim friend to leave the scene.

Bessem is the second Christian from El-Arish who has been murdered after returning to the town. In May 2017, a 40-year-old Christian barber was similarly gunned down by masked men, while working in his barber shop.