21 abducted nationals released in Libya

CAIRO: A total of 21 Egyptian nationals, who had been abducted by an armed group in Libya, were released Saturday evening, their relatives told Youm7.

Three of the kidnapped called their relatives in Samalut city of Minya confirming that the whole group had been released and would be sent home, said Ammar Nassar Hassa, a brother of one of the released.

The group was kidnapped Dec. 31, 2015 in Libya while they were traveling to work.

Egyptian foreign authorities contacted with the Libyan armed forces arranged the release of the nationals and arrested the abductors, a security source told Youm7 on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media.

On Dec. 31, 2015, it was reported that the Egyptian military intelligence service freed a group of Egyptian citizens kidnapped in Libya by militants near Tobruk, where the internationally recognized government is headquartered.  Tobruk is port city on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt.

The Islamic State (IS) affiliate in Libya released a graphic video of beheadings of 20 Coptic nationals in February 2015; hours later, Egypt responded by bombing IS targets in Libya.

The oil-rich state has witnessed a rising militancy and an increasing use of weapons since the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The conflict between the Islamists and the armed forces escalated in August 2014, pushing Egypt to ban flights to Libya and evacuated Egyptian expatriates via Tunisian territories. Despite Foreign Ministry’s warnings against travelling to restive Libya, many of Egyptian job seekers travel there.

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