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Militants gun down Egyptian Christian outside his barber shop in North Sinai

(Reuters/Ahmed Aboulenein)Christian families who left from Al-Arish in the North Sinai Governorate after the escalation of a campaign targeting Christians by Islamic State militants last week, arrive at the Evangelical Church in Ismailia, Egypt February 24, 2017.

Suspected militants have gunned down a Coptic Christian man outside his barbershop in Egypt's North Sinai region on Saturday.

According to Egypt Independent, Nabil Saber Ayoub and his family had left the city of al-Arish in North Sinai three months ago because of the threats of violence from Islamic State-affiliated militants. They were among the 400 families who fled to Ismailia due to the series of killings, kidnappings and threats to wipe out Egypt's Christian minority.

Ayoub reportedly returned to al-Arish without his family as he owns a barbershop and a house in the town.

"Ayoub returned because he did not find any job opportunities in Port Said or Ismailia; he decided to return to work in his barbershop in order to provide for his family who are now in Ismailia," said a resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The barbershop owner was shot dead by four masked men on May 6. According to World Watch Monitor, he received a phone call from his wife, so he went out to the street to get a better signal. During the phone call, the suspects shot him four times, with two bullets hitting him in the head, one in the stomach and another one in his shoulder.

While they were shooting him, the assailants reportedly asked, "Why do you return back again, oh Kafir?" The suspects allegedly took the victim's ID card and his cell phone before fleeing the scene.

"There is a police checkpoint near Nabil's home," said Moheb Qadry Fares, Ayoub's brother-in-law. "How did the police allow those masked gunmen to enter the area and kill Nabil in the daytime? Where was the security when this incident took place? None of them did anything," he added.

Fares also noted that police were guarding the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Michael behind Ayoub's home.

"How [did] those masked men manage to enter the area and carry out their crime without getting arrested, even though the sound of the shooting was heard by all the residents of the area?" he asked.

Ayoub was the eighth Egyptian Coptic Christian to be murdered in the town this year. The seven others were killed between Jan. 30 and Feb. 23. After killing two Christians, the attackers were reportedly seen ticking off the names of the victims from a hit list.

The ISIS-affiliated media outlet al-Nabaa recently published an interview with an alleged militant leader who told Egyptian Muslims to avoid police and army headquarters, checkpoints as well as Christian places of worship. The leader warned that the places he mentioned were the terror group's targets and that militants will destroy them at any time.

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