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EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian security officials say a Christian man who has been kidnapped by suspected Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula is a police forensic expert.

They identified him Saturday as 45-year-old Adeeb Nakhlah, who lived and worked in el-Arish until 2017 when he fled following a spate of attacks targeting Christians there.

The officials did not say whether Thursday’s kidnapping of Nakhlah was planned given his profession.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Militants led by the Islamic State group have for years been battling security forces in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

The militants have targeted Christians since December 2016, killing more than a 100 of them in attacks on churches and buses carrying pilgrims to remote monasteries.