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ISIS executes Coptic in Egypt 'as a warning to Christians'

An Egyptian terror group linked to ISIS has executed three men including a Coptic Christian as a warning for supporting the country's armed forces.

Nabil Habashi Salama, 62, a member of Egypt's minority Coptic Orthodox Church, was shown being shot in the back of the head in a video released Saturday. 

In the footage, a militant with his face blurred, an AK-47 slung across his chest and index finger raised to the sky, warns the 'Christians of Egypt' that 'this is the price you pay for supporting the Egyptian army.'

An ISIS-linked terror group in Egypt has executed a 62-year-old Coptic man 'as a warning' to the country's Christians not to support the armed forces

Nabil Habashi Salama, who was kidnapped off the streets of Bir al-Abed last November, was the man killed in the footage, Egypt's Coptic Church has confirmed

He then raises the rifle and fires a single bullet into the back of Salama's head, while flanked by two others who are also clutching rifles.

A separate piece of footage then shows two other militants executing two tribesmen in a similar fashion, after accusing them of fighting with the Egyptian armed forces.

Salama had been missing since last November, the Coptic Church said, when he was kidnapped while walking along the streets of Bir al-Abed by jihadists in a car.  

A spokesman for the Coptic Church, which confirmed Salama's identity from the video, said he had been involved in rebuilding churches destroyed by Islamists in the region.  

He kept the faith till the moment he was killed,' the spokesman said.

'The church affirms its steadfast support of the Egyptian state's efforts in quelling hateful terror acts.' 

A separate piece of footage released simultaneously shows two tribesmen being executed for fighting alongside Egyptian armed forces, the jihadists said

A long-running jihadist insurgency in North Sinai escalated in 2013 when the army overthrew Egypt's elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Most attacks have been carried out in the Sinai Peninsula but they have also used the territory as a launchpad to strike elsewhere in Egypt, such as the bombing of a chapel next to the Coptic cathedral in Cairo in 2016.

In February 2018, the government launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

The army says some 970 suspected militants have been killed in the ongoing campaign.

But the region has remained largely cut off to journalists, making the compilation of independent casualty figures almost impossible.

The Coptic Orthodox Church represents a Christian minority which ranged between 10 and 15 per cent of Egypt's 100-million population.

The group has often been targeted for attacks by militants during the years-long insurgency, with hundreds killed in bomb and gun attacks. 

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