Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced on Saturday, December 22, that a security alert has been issued for all provinces leading up to Coptic Christmas and New Year celebrations. Coptic Christians will celebrate Christmas on January 7, 2019, across the country. The government will deploy additional soldiers and security personnel around places of worship and at other strategic areas. Fixed and mobile security check points will also be deployed throughout the country.
The Christian community has been targeted in a number of violence incidents in recent years in Egypt. On November 2, Islamic State (IS) militants attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians en route from Sohag to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor (Minya governorate), which left seven people dead. IS also claimed attacks in 2017 on Palm Sunday and another attack on a bus traveling to the Saint Samuel Monastery.
Due to the prevailing threat of terrorism, individuals throughout Egypt should report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and always be on guard when visiting sites deemed particularly vulnerable to an attack (e.g. public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.).
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