Libya Islamists Abduct 20 Egypt Christians: Government

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Benghazi:  Islamist militants have abducted 20 Egyptian Christians in Libya in recent days, a source close to the government said Saturday.

The Ansar al-Sharia militia had kidnapped 13 of them Saturday in the coastal city of Sirte and the rest of them there over the past few days, the source said.

Their identity was not immediately clear, except that they were said to be Coptic Christians.

Thousands of Egyptians work in Libya, mainly in the construction and craft sectors, and several have been killed in recent years.

In February, the bodies of seven Egyptian Christians who had been shot were found near the second city of Benghazi.

And just last week, an Egyptian Coptic couple were found dead in their home in Sirte, hometown of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, who was overthrown and killed in a popular uprising three years ago.

Their 13-year-old daughter, who was kidnapped, was later found dead.

Local council chairman Yussef Tebeiqa said the attack might have been motivated by religion as money and jewellery were not taken.

Sirte, 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Tripoli, is in the hands of Islamist militias, including Ansar al-Sharia, which the UN Security Council last month added to its terror list over links to Al-Qaeda and for running Islamic State group training camps.

Since Kadhafi's ouster, Libya's small Christian minority has expressed fears over Islamic extremism, especially with the rise of armed militias enforcing their own law in the absence of central control.



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