(MENAFN - Arab News) Several Christian families have fled their homes in Egypt's Sinai peninsula after receiving death threats from suspected militants, officials and residents told AFP yesterday.
Last week, flyers began circulating in the town of Rafah on the Gaza Strip border demanding that its tiny Coptic population move out, residents said.
Officials at the local church informed the authorities of the threats, but no action was taken, they added. Days later, a shop belonging to one of the families was fired on with rifles.
The events prompted the families to leave Rafah, but there were conflicting accounts over whether they had done so voluntarily or been evicted.
"The families have left Rafah and gone to El-Arish," one official said on condition of anonymity.
Another official denied that any Coptic families had left at all.
Representatives of the families, many of whom hold government jobs as well private businesses, sat down with the governor of North Sinai earlier this week and asked to be transferred to the nearby town of Al-Erish, the official said.
Father Mikhail Antoine of El-Arish church told AFP "the families moved voluntarily because they feared for their lives after the threats." He said the Coptic population of North Sinai numbered 5,000 to 6,000.