A spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church has praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Islamic State attacks in Sinai, Crux reports.
Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.
"Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can – they're often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals," he told Catholic News Service on March 3, as Christians continued to flee Egypt's North Sinai region.
Fr Greiche said the attacks had affected only Coptic Orthodox Christians, but added that Catholic churches and schools in Ismailia had offered shelter to Orthodox families with help from Caritas.
He said Islamic State militants were now "strongly entrenched" in North Sinai, having been allowed by the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood organisations to use tunnels from the Gaza Strip.
He added that civilians were better off not staying in the surrounding military zone, which was now "under attack all the time," but said he believed the Egyptian authorities were committed to protecting Christians against the Islamist insurgency.
"You can never do enough against jihadist and terrorist attacks, which come, like any criminal acts, at a time no one can foresee," the priest said. "But while no country can be fully secure, I think there's will on the government side to act decisively against these constant attempts to destabilise Egypt."
In Britain, Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos said from December to February, 40 Coptic Christians had been murdered in Egypt.
"These horrific attacks have gone largely unnoticed by the international community, but Copts continue to suffer tragic violations daily," he said in a statement. "The common denominator is that these innocent children, women and men have had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians."
Coptic Christians flee Egypt's Sinai (YouTube)