A Coptic civil servant was killed in Sinai, Egypt, after his vehicle was stopped and passengers were asked if any “Christian infidels” were on board.

Messak Nasralla, 58, was going about his business as a government medical supplier when he was found dead last week, south of Arish, reports in the Egyptian mainstream press said.

According to Coptic website Light and Dark, Islamic militants killed Nasralla after he “confessed to being a Christian”, while a Muslim colleague was spared.

“They were asked about their religion. The jihadists let go our Muslim colleague, Hamadah Naguib, but killed Nasralla,” a co-worker, Mohamed Ibrahim, said.

North Sinai police blamed Ansar Beitul Maqdess (ABM) insurgents, after Nasralla’s body was identified on 3 May.

Christians have been targeted increasingly in the restive Sinai Peninsula in north-east Egypt. In February 2015, a church spokesman voiced dismay at “daily atrocities” after another Copt was shot in the head at his shop in Arish.

Since 2011, scores of violent incidents have been reported across the country, including kidnappings-for-ransom, predominantly targeting members of Egypt’s Christian minority.