Egyptian authorities have announced that security forces worked to bring back Coptic Christians families who fled their homes in northern Sinai for fear of attacks by Islamist militants. At least nine families from this Christian community living in Rafah and Sheikh Zouaid near the Israeli border have left this part of the Sinai, where they lived for over twenty years.
A store owned by a Coptic in Rafah was attacked in midweek by two men on a motorcycle. Nobody was injured. Death threats contained in leaflets were distributed elsewhere in the area. "The Coptic families have left their homes as a precaution, but the governor of North Sinai gave orders for their return, and they are returning," said Yasser Ali, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency.
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said he not even one family was forced to leave, but they did it voluntarily. "We must eradicate fear and put all the security measures available to every citizen," he added.
Experts believe that Islamists linked to Al Qaeda have settled in the northern Sinai. Israel has expressed concern about the security of this region which saw at least four attacks since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.