20 Egyptian Christians abducted
Masked gunmen in central Libya reportedly kidnapped 13 Coptic Christians yesterday after seven were abducted days earlier, in a new wave of assaults against Egypt's Christians working in the war-torn North African nation plagued with Islamic extremists.
Witness Hanna Aziz told The Associated Press that the gunmen in the Libyan city of Sirte went room to room in their residence at 2:30 a.m., yesterday and asked for identification papers to separate Muslim workers from Christians. Aziz says the gunmen handcuffed the Christians and drove away with them.
"They were 15 armed and masked men who came in four vehicles. They had a list of full names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Muslims were left aside while Christians were grabbed," Aziz said, adding that he survived simply because he didn't open his door.
"I heard my friends screaming but they were quickly shushed at gunpoint. After that, we heard nothing," said Aziz who said he has three relatives among the hostages. "I am still in my room waiting for them to take me. I want to die with them," he added.
Abu Makar, a Coptic priest in the workers' hometown of Samalout in southern Egypt, confirmed that the abductions took place. He said seven other Coptic Christians from Samalout were taken while trying to escape Sirte a few days earlier.
The abductions came on the heels of the killing of a Coptic couple - who used to work as doctors in Sirte - and their daughter.