Hundreds of Christians flee the northern Sinai Peninsula, as the Islamic State hunts them down.

Christians who fled Islamic State persecution in the lawless northern Sinai Peninsula province of Arish, are complaining of ambiguity over their displacement. Hundreds of Christian families and students have fled to Ismailia, the neighboring province, after seven Christians were killed in Arish between January 30th and Thursday of last week. “We faced a kind of terror that no human has endured, not even in Syria or Iraq. We were in our homes expecting that at any moment someone will knock at our door and kill us – cut our head off or set us on fire. It was beyond imagination. The last week before we left we could not sleep,” Qirollos Shawki, Christian refugee from northern Sinai.

The Willayat Sinai group, which is the Islamic State in Egypt, circulated death lists online and on the streets warning Christians to leave or die, while warning Muslims who aid Christians that they would kill them as well. “They threatened drivers that if they transported a Christian from Arish to a place outside Arish that they will be killed – they would attack the vehicle. This is a very, very difficult situation. We need to take care of this and there needs to be an organized operation to deal with it,” Unidentified, Christian refugee from northern Sinai.

The Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency in Northern Sinai against the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, claimed responsibility for the murder of the seven Christians. One of the Christian victims was beheaded while another was set on fire. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the government to take all necessary measures to help resettle the displaced. But many families remain in Arish, according to church members, in fear of being targeted on the road out of the chaotic province that is just several kilometers away from Israel. Last week the Islamic State released a video threatening Egypt’s Christian community, vowing to escalate a campaign against them after the Muslim group bombed a chapel adjoining Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral in December, killing 28 Christians.