The churches of Egypt are temporarily shutting down their summer activities.
“I asked all our churches and conference centers to cancel their trips and events for the next three weeks,” Dr. Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, told World Watch Monitor. “There is news they could be targeted by radicals.”
An unofficial translation of his official statement reads: “Warm greetings in the name of Jesus. In light of recent developments, please stop all church trips and conferences … for July 2017. This is a serious matter. Any trip or conference [that continues] will be the personal responsibility of the organizer.”
Zaki confirmed the information came directly from the security agencies. Fr. Boules Halim, official spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church, told World Watch Monitor his denomination issued similar instructions, asking churches to wait for further information once the three-week moratorium expires.
The announcement comes six weeks after an Ascension Day church trip to the St. Samuel Monastery in Minya was ambushed by the Islamic State group on May 26. Thirty Copts were killed in the attack, including women and children.
A recent uptick in targeted violence has left five Copts murdered mysteriously in the past six weeks, as reported by World Watch Monitor.
Hundreds of Copts fled their homes in Sinai in March, warned by IS via flyers amid individual killings.
Labelled “our favorite prey” by IS, dozens more were killed in suicide bombings in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday and in Cairo just before Christmas.