Bassem Shehata Haraz was killed as he walked home after closing his shop on the 13th January. Bassem was walking home with two other people. They were stopped by armed men who, after seeing a cross tattooed on Bassem’s wrist, asked him whether he was a Christian. When he answered that he was, they shot him. They told the other two men to leave the scene.
This happened in the town of al-Arish, northern Sinai governorate. Bassem had only recently returned to al-Arish, after fleeing earlier violent attacks against Christians in February 2017. Those attacks caused more than 300 Christian families to flee northern Sinai after seven Christians were killed in the space of a few weeks, and Muslim extremists issued a video threatening further violence against Christians.
Bassem is the second Christian who has been killed by extremists after returning to al-Arish. The first was Nabil Saber Fawzy, who was killed after returning to al-Arish in May 2017.
Islamic extremists in northern Sinai also regularly attack security personnel and people suspected of working with the authorities. Sufi Muslims have also been targeted by the extremists. In November 2016, Suleiman Abu Haraz, a highly respected 100-year-old Sufi Muslim leader, was beheaded, and 305 worshippers were killed in an attack on a Sufi mosque on 24 November 2017.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.