Prayers in Deir El-Garnouse Coptic church, near Al-Minya in Upper Egypt, after Islamic State opened fire on a convoy carrying Copts, killing at least 28 people in May 2017.

A Christian father and son were killed by suspected Islamic State militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on 30 August.

The two Copts, Salama Moussa Waheeb and his son Hany, were shot dead while working in the fields in Gelbana, 20 kilometers east of the city of El Qantara on the Suez Canal, according to relatives as reported by the Coptic news site Wataninet.

Hany, 40, was married with two daughters.

Islamic State – Sinai Province, a branch of IS, has been leading an insurgency in eastern Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula since 2011. In 2017 the group released a video, stating it wanted to eliminate Egypt’s Coptic community and “liberate Cairo”. What followed was a series of attacks reportedly involving a “hit list”.

However, last week’s murder also coincides with an increase in fighting between Egypt’s armed forces and IS militants who have started to move westwards, from the Peninsula into the Ismailia governorate of Egypt. While Gelbana is geographically located in North Sinai governorate, administratively it falls under Ismailia.

Two weeks earlier, residents of Gelbana told Mada Masr that at least three civilians had been killed by stray bullets in fighting between IS militants and the armed forces and fighters from local tribes. The army told villagers to leave their homes and move to other areas. For some, this meant uprooting themselves again after they had fled earlier violence in the northeast corner of the country, close to the border with Gaza.