Egypt: Remains of twenty Coptic Christians repatriated
The remains of 2015 Egyptian Christians who were executed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Libya in XNUMX were repatriated on Monday, an official at Cairo airport said.
Orthodox Coptic patriarch Theodore II was present at the reception of the men's bodies, which were discovered in October near Sirte in northern Libya, a former jihadist stronghold in Libya.
Hours earlier, a French news agency photojournalist had reported that the wreckage had been loaded on a Libyan Airlines plane at Misrata airport, 200km east of Tripoli, where it was being stored.
The bodies of 20 Egyptians and another man who, according to medical examiner Othman al-Zentani, was apparently an African national (Ghana, as later found), "was not an easy task" to identify, as they were in advanced decomposition. while the victims had been beheaded by the jihadists.
The medical examiner had explained that identification was only possible when the victims' families sent samples of genetic material.
The IK had distributed on February 15, 2015 a video depicting the beheading of what the jihadists said were 21 cutters, after their abduction in January of that year in western Libya.
Immediately after the hostage-taking, tens of thousands of Egyptians working in Libya — in the real estate, services, agriculture, etc. — fled the country.
Following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, Libya was divided into paramilitary factions, with two rival governments vying for and still claiming power, each on its own behalf: on the one hand, the National Unity (KEE), which is recognized by the international community and is based in Tripoli on the other hand, a government that controls the eastern part of the country with the support of General Khalifa Haftar and his forces.
Taking advantage of the chaos, IS jihadists turned much of Libya into a refuge, despite losing their US-backed stronghold of Sirte, which they had occupied in June 2016, in December 2015.