CAIRO: The relatives of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were kidnapped in Libya confirmed their identities in a picture posted by a branch of the Islamic State group (IS), said the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom in statement Monday evening on their Facebook page.
The non-governmental organization contacted the relatives, mentioning 17 names of them, the statement added.
The IS group published photos of the Copts, announcing its responsibility for their kidnapping from Sirte 10 days ago, according to a statement by the group media office in Tripoli, al-Arabyia news reported.
“Islamic State soldiers captured 21 crusaders in separated areas in Tripoli,” reads one caption posted with the photo; while the other caption says “the kidnapped are captured crusaders for ISIL.”
On Jan. 3, Egypt announced that 21 men had been abducted in Sirte by Islamists a few days previously. Coptic activist Magdi Malak from Minya governorate said 13 of the men are from Samalut city in Minya. He added that an additional 10 Copts managed to escape and call their relatives, and relay the news of the kidnapping.
Many Egyptian nationals have been killed in Libya during the past few months; due to the security crisis, thousands of Egyptians have fled Libya following warnings from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Algeria has opened its borders with Libya in order for Egyptian nationals to flee the violence.
In late December, three Egyptian Copts were killed by unknown assailants in Sirte. Seven Coptic Egyptians were shot dead on Feb. 24, 2014 in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.