CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Press Shia Agency) – Dozens of Coptic Christian families have fled northern Sinai Peninsula following a spate of militant attacks in the restive region.

At least six Copts were reportedly killed over the past three weeks by suspected militants in northern Sinai, prompting many families to seek refuge in the canal city of Ismailia. 

“Around 35 families have arrived in Ismailia from North Sinai,” deacon Yusuf Shukri told Anadolu Agency on Saturday. 

He expected more Christian families to leave northern Sinai. 

A spokesman for the Coptic Church on Saturday confirmed that some Christian families have fled northern Sinai in the wake of the attacks. 

On Friday, the church issued a statement reiterating support for government efforts to fight terrorism. 

“They aim to strike our national unity … in the face of terrorism, which has been exported to Egypt from abroad,” it said. 

The northern Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicenter of a deadly insurgency since Mohamed Morsi — Egypt’s first freely elected president — was ousted in a 2013 military coup. 

Since then, the “Welayet Sinai” (“Province of Sinai”) group — said to have links to the Daesh terrorist organization — has claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks on Egyptian security forces deployed in the region. 

Coptic Christians are estimated to account for between 8 and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of about 90 million.

AA/Press Shia Agency