In the wake of the massive outflow of Coptic citizens from the North Sinai’s city of Al-Arish, the North Sinai security chief, Sayed El-Habal, led a large-scale security sweeping operation inside the different cities of the governorate, said a statement from the Ministry of Interior’s Facebook page.
According to the statement, the sweeping operation has been conducted in an effort to apply orders issued by Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar that stipulated imposing security control over Al-Arish and arresting all militants who hide among citizens.
During the operation, North Sinai’s security chief appeared—wearing a military uniform while inspecting a number of facilities in Al-Arish, according to the statement and photos published alongside it.
“The security forces inside North Sinai deployed in force in Al-Arish to impose full security control over the city and chase militants who hide among the citizens to commit terrorist attacks. Scores of rapid deployment forces have been deployed to arrest those militants. The city of Al-Arish witnessed a great presence of security forces in all its suburbs,” the statement read.
In the same context, the parliament’s Human Rights Committee, headed by member of parliament (MP) Alaa Abed, on Friday paid a visit to the Coptic families that fled from Al-Arish and currently reside in Ismailia. The visit aimed to check services provided to the Coptic families, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
The committee had been received by Ismailia governor Yassin Taher who stated during his meeting with them that the number of Coptic families that arrived in Ismailia after fleeing from Al-Arish reached 148 families, made up of 523 persons.
The governor claimed that it is hard to describe the fleeing of Coptic citizens from Al-Arish as a kind of deportation or systematic displacement, stating that the families’ leave was based on personal decisions and their own initiative.
“The families are now residing in the governmental headquarters, apartments in Mostakbal City, and in the main church of Ismailia, while some of them headed to their relatives in the governorate,” the Ismailia governor explained. The Social Solidarity Committee had previously received the apartments in Mostakbal City for the families and prepared them for them, while also being responsible for the handover.
“These apartments have been prepared according to instructions issued by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and are now ready to be used by the families. These will be temporary residences for them until they are able to go back to their original residences inside Al-Arish city,” he said.
Concerning the needs of the families in terms of work and education, the governor noted that all children of these families who are currently in need to receive education have been distributed over educational institutions in Ismailia governorate. Moreover, the governor said that 103 citizens from the families have been granted nominations for job opportunities inside Ismailia.
Meanwhile, Alaa Abed called upon the police and the armed forces to retaliate for the citizens of North Sinai, who had been subjected to terrorist attacks.
He stressed that the protection of the Coptic families’ residences inside the city of Al-Arish is a necessity, stating that a high-ranking army official informed him that the displaced Coptic families will return back to their residences in Al-Arish soon.