In a statement claiming responsibility, the ISIS-affiliated Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis (known officially as Wilayat Sinai) claimed responsibility for the Thursday killing of Coptic Christian priest, Father Rafael Moussa of the Marr Guirguis Church in El-Arish, North Sinai.
“Islamic State soldiers were able to successfully target the priest Moussa Azmi, known as Rafael, who fights Islam,” said the group in a statement, reported Reuters.
According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry, the priest was in the industrial area of El-Arish to fix his car when he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
The Coptic Orthodox Church confirmed the killing, mourning Moussa as a martyr and revealing that he had just finished prayers.
Later on Thursday, at least one police officer was killed in El-Arish when a bomb exploded, reported Al-Ahram. Four other security personnel were also injured in the explosion.
ISIS-affiliated groups have not targeted many attacks against specific minorities in Egypt since coming to prominence in July 2013 following the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.
Egypt’s military, in cooperation with local tribes, has waged a war against militancy in North Sinai, killing hundreds of suspected terrorists. An estimated 2100 people were killed in North Sinai in 2015, including roughly 1800 described by the military as “terrorists,” 150 civilians, 40 police officers and conscripts, and 140 military personnel.