CAIRO: Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church has granted Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians beheaded by the Islamic State branch in Libya the title of “Martyrs of the 21st Century,” Ethiopian newspaper Sendek reported Sunday.
The Church synod said “those martyrs faced an atrocious image of death; they were granted this title for refusing to change their religions,” Egypt’s Middle East News Agency quoted the statement, released in the Amharic language.
The title is one of the church’s highest ranks of martyrdom.
In January, IS released a video footage showing the beheading of 20 Egyptians in Libya; the Egyptian government responded by airstrikes that hit IS hotbeds in its western neighbor.
More than 25 Ethiopians were beheaded in April by IS in Libya, according to a video released by IS militants.
Upon coordination between Egypt and the Libyan Tobruk-based government, the Egyptian military and security forces participated in evacuating 27 Ethiopians from Libya, whom were welcomed by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on May 7 at Cairo airport.
After sour Egyptian-Ethiopian relations because of the Renaissance Dam, the two countries have improved their ties by signing an initial agreement on the dam so it does not damage Egypt’s share of the Nile River water.