Coptic Christian shot dead by masked gunmen in Sinai Peninsula

Masked gunmen recently shot dead a Coptic Christian man in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula in the latest attack made against the country's Christian minority, according to local security officials.

(REUTERS / Asmaa Waguih)An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on the highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, May 25, 2015.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, the Egyptian officials said three masked assailants gunned down a male Coptic Christian identified as 35-year-old Bassem Attallah on Jan. 13. While no one has claimed responsibility yet for the incident, the attack was similar to those carried out by the Islamic State, Crux noted.

The latest deadly shooting came barely a month after nine people were killed when a gunman went on a rampage outside a church in Cairo. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the said attack, which happened days ahead of the Coptic celebration of Christmas on Jan. 7, The Daily Mail reported.

In last month's attack, the gunman took an assault rifle, a bomb, and 150 rounds of ammunition and opened fire outside the Mar Mina church. He was shot while trying to gain entry into the house of worship.

Fortunately, the people inside the Coptic Church were able to shut the gates immediately once the shooting started, according to eyewitness Samir Gerges. Raouth Atta, who was participating in a prayer gathering inside the church, also said the same thing.

Already in trouble for a number of incidents targeting police, the Cairo attacker first shot at a bookshop owned by a Coptic Christian, leaving two individuals dead. Later on, seven others were killed when he moved on and fired at the church. Five people including two women were also injured. 

Coptic churches have been the target of a series of terror attacks in Egypt in the last few years. In 2016, ISIS killed dozens of Christians in its shooting rampage and church bombings. The group has also threatened to launch more attacks against the religious minority.