An affiliate of the Islamic State in Egypt has released a video threatening to carry out more attacks on Christians in the country, saying they are the extremist group’s “favorite prey.”
In the 20-minute video, the narrator said that Christians were no longer “dhimmis,” who receives some degree of state protection in Islam. The group instead referred to Christians as “infidels” who empower the West against Muslim nations, The Associated Press reported.
“God gave orders to kill every infidel,” one militant carrying a weapon said in the video.
The video included a footage of Abu Abdallah al-Masri, who was identified as the bomber who attacked the central Cairo church in December, killing 28 people, most of whom were women and children. The narrator went on to say that the Cairo church bombing was “only the beginning.”
“Oh worshippers of the cross … the soldiers of the state are watching you,” said another militant identified as Abu Zubair al-Masri.
The video displayed the logo “Egypt” instead of the usual “Wilayat Sinai,” or the state of Sinai, which suggested that the terror group is attempting to expand its operations to the rest of the country.
Prior to the bombing, Abu Abdallah was detained in 2014 before he joined Wilayat Sinai, which is the name of the ISIS branch in Sinai, according to the Egyptian government.
The government had previously stated that Abu Abdallah supported the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement. However, the Brotherhood condemned the attack and accused the administration of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of failing to protect the church.
Wilayat Sinai has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks that mainly targeted security forces and military across Egypt but mostly in the Sinai Peninsula, where the army has been leading an anti-terrorism operation for years.
Coptic Christians are increasingly targeted by Islamic extremists for supporting Sissi. The president had visited the seat of the Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo during major holidays to assure the Christians of his goodwill to the community.
However, many have complained that very little has changed since Sissi took office in 2014. Christians in rural areas are frequently attacked by Muslim radicals over issues ranging from land disputes, church renovation or construction, or sexual affairs between members of the Christian and Muslim communities.