Islamic State Targets Copts.
This story broke from Thursday onwards.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry is investigating the authenticity of pictures purportedly showing the Egyptian abductees in Libya, the Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said on Thursday.
Twenty-one Coptic Egyptians were abducted in the Libyan city of Sirte on two separate occasions, only one week apart. Seven were kidnapped on December 31, 2014, while the remaining 14 were captured on January 3.
Pictures allegedly belonging to the abductees went viral on social media websites after they were published by a magazine affiliated with the Islamic State fighters. Those featured in the pictures were clad in orange, a colour usually signalling the captives’ death sentence by the group.
Late on Thursday, Egypt commenced emergency procedures to evacuate all Egyptian nationals wishing to return from Libya, reported state television.
“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 (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL)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.
See: Original article by the Islamic State (PdF).
“The article was concluded with this call to kill Copts: “Finally, it is important for Muslims everywhere to know that there is no doubt in the great reward to be found on Judgment Day for those who spill the blood of these Coptic crusaders wherever they may be found…”
While showing the Coptic abductees in death dress, there was no explicit mention of whether they have already been executed.”
The BBC reports,
Egypt has offered to evacuate its citizens from Libya after Islamic State (IS) released photos which it says show 21 Coptic Egyptians kidnapped there.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said Egyptians would be airlifted out of Libya, state-run news agency Mena said.
It came as a relative of one of those kidnapped told the BBC the victim’s family had “collapsed emotionally”.
A number of Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped in two raids in Sirte, Libya, in December and January.
The pictures released by IS were published in the latest online edition of the group’s magazine Dabiq.
A statement from the office of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said a special committee was closely following events in order to “clarify the situation and learn the truth”.
In Cairo, the families of the 21 hostages, who were working in Libya, have staged a protest accusing the president of not doing enough for them.
Speaking on Friday, an uncle of one of the kidnapped men said there was “an atmosphere of complete devastation” in his village following the publication of the pictures.
“We urge the president to exert his utmost efforts to bring our children back home,” said Bashir Zaki. “We elected him and love him, he shouldn’t neglect us.”