An Egyptian Copt was tragically killed by militants after they saw a small cross tattoo on his wrist and asked if he was a Christian, according to an organization that routinely reports on persecution across the globe.
Bassem Herz Attalhah, 27, was recently killed by three militants with the State of Sinai while on his way home from work in El-Arish, Egypt, World Watch Monitor reported.
The assailants, who were between the ages of 23 and 25, approached Attalhah, his brother, Osama, and their friend, Mohamed, before attacking. At first, Osama said that he thought they were police, but things quickly took a tragic turn.
“They approached us and asked Bassem to show them the wrist of his right hand, and when they saw the tattoo of the cross, they asked him: ‘Are you Christian?’” Osama told World Watch Monitor. “Bassem answered ‘Yes, I am Christian,’ and repeated that again in a loud voice.”
The men assumed Osama was a Muslim when they looked and didn’t notice a cross on his own wrist, but, as it turns out, he has a cross on the top of his hand; that cross, though, was hidden by his sleeve.
The militants fired shots near Osama’s legs, but Attalhah met a much more tragic fate.
“They shot Bassem in the head. I could not believe what happened to my brother. He fell on the ground in front of me and I was unable to do anything,” he said. “We lost a person dear to our hearts. My brother Bassem was a very good and kind man. He had a strong relationship with God. He was always reading in the Bible, praying and going to the church.”
Milad Wasfi, a friend of Attalhah, called Attalhah’s cell phone after the murder and was greeted by the terrorists.
“The terrorists answered me and said they belong to State of Sinai and promised to kill more Copts before they put down the phone,” he told World Watch Monitor.
Egypt ranks as the 17th worst country to live as a Christian, with Open Doors USA noting that persecution runs rampant there.
“In a country where 90 percent of the population is Muslim, Christians in Egypt have been treated as second-class citizens since the advent of Islam in the region,” the organization noted in its World Watch List. “The rise of radical Islamist groups has only exacerbated this persecution, affecting Christians in their villages, neighborhoods and workplaces.”
Pray for Attalhah’s brother, family and friends.