CAIRO: Egypt is in contact with the Libyan authorities to follow up on the death of the Egyptians who were reportedly kidnapped in Libya by the Islamic State (IS) group, amid escalating anger from captives’ families.
Egypt spares no effort to follow up the situation of the Egyptian nationals who were kidnapped in Libya, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said in a statement Thursday urging the international community to stand up against terrorism, which is threatening the region.
The IS group issued Thursday the seventh edition of its English-language magazine of Dabiq showing photos of 21 Egyptian Copts allegedly kidnapped in Libya’s city of Sirte in Jan. 2015. The photos show the Egyptian nationals in orange suits and being handcuffed by IS’s masked militants.
Youssef added the presidency is following the situation with the representatives of the concerned ministries to keep in touch with the Libyan official and sheikhs to know the situation.
According to the magazine, the Copts were kidnapped “in revenge for” an Egyptian woman who was allegedly tortured in an Egyptian churches over converting to Islam.
“If his church persecuted any Muslimah in Egypt, he (Late Egyptian Pope Shenouda III was the 117th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark) would be directly responsible for every single Christian killed anywhere in the world when the Islamic State sought it’s just revenge… And the deaths did not begin until after the crusaders had expressed their arrogance and refusal to execute the righteous demands of the mujahidin,” said the magazine report.
During the reign of former President Hosni Mubarak, there were reports on Islamic website news claiming some of Christian women, Like Kamilia shehata and Wafaa Constantine, have converted to Islam and they were allegedly tortured in a church for being Muslims. A blast targeted a church in Baghdad following the report of such claims in 2010 in which hundreds of people were killed.
“This month, the soldiers of the Khilāfah in Wilāyat Tarābulus captured 21 Coptic crusaders, almost five years after the blessed operation against the Baghdad church executed in revenge for Kamilia Shehata, Wafa Constantine, and other sisters who were tortured and murdered by the Coptic Church of Egypt. The operation was planned by Hudhayfah al-Battāwī (rahimahullāh), wālī of Wilāyat Baghdad at the time, alongside the senior military commander, Abū Ibrāhīm az- Zaydī (rahimahullāh), both of whom played a crucial role – through their passion and zealousness – in preserving the morale of the Islamic State,” the report continued.
“And so, five years after the blessed operation in Iraq, Allah (ta’ālā) granted the Islamic State expansion to Libya, Sinai, and elsewhere, allowing it to easily capture the Coptic crusaders- the followers of the dead Shenouda and the supporters of the tāghūt Sisi – as the Salaf said,” the report said.
Priest Stephanos Shehata of of Samalout Coptic Orthodox Diocese in Minya (Upper Egypt) told Dostor newspaper Friday that IS militants have asked for the release and appearance of those two women and escorting them to to Minya in order to release the 21 kidnapped Copts.
He added that some of captives in Minya said they were informed that the Kidnapped persons are still alive.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty said Egypt is trying to verify the killing reports.
Families of the kidnapped Copts announced in a statement that they will to stage a protest outside the Syndicate of the Journalists in Cairo followed by a vigil in the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral Friday.
“No dead bodies have been found yet neither body was sent to the morgue of Sirte or hospitals yet. So the state should speedily move to disclose the fact of the news, issue an official statement about the incident, and confirm what was published on the group’s site about give 72-hour period before execution process for their demands from the Egyptian government,” according to the statement.
The families failed to contact with the kidnapped people during the last few days.
The families called on President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to confirm these reports as fast as possible and if their deaths were confirmed, he should bring back the dead bodies of their sons.
On Jan.4, relatives of abducted citizens protested outside the headquarters of Egyptian Foreign Ministry, calling for the release of their “sons.”
Social media users posted and re-tweeted information claims that IS group in Libya took over Sirte Radio headquarter and National Libya T.V. office.
In case that the execution reports were confirmed, the foreign ministry would be responsible for their killing as the families asked for the ministry help to know the place of the kidnapped people as fast as possible, Stephanos Shehata of told a talk show Thursday.
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 so that Egyptian nationals could 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.