Islamic State claims responsibility for kidnapping Egyptians in Libya

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The self-proclaimed Islamic Sate terrorist organisation (formerly ISIL) has claimed responsibility for kidnapping a number of Egyptian workers in Libya last month.

The group has published photos of what it described as the “Egyptian crusaders” working in Tripoli.

Last December, 13 Egyptian workers were reportedly kidnapped in the Libyan city of Sirte.

Seven other Egyptian men, Coptic Christians, were kidnapped during the same month – all of whom come from the province of Minya in Upper Egypt – as they were trying to escape to Egypt from Sirte.

A three-member Egyptian Coptic family was also recently murdered in Libya.

Egyptians in Libya, especially Coptic Christians, have been the target of local terrorist groups since Egypt declared its support for the Libyan government.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians work in Libya, mainly in the construction industry, as the country is a key destination for Egyptian migrant workers.

On Monday, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a crisis response committee, formed upon the directives of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, is currently conducting intensive negotiations with Libyan government officials and tribal leaders to release kidnapped Egyptians in Sirte.

The committee includes security bodies and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Badr Abdel-Aati said that a number of influential Libyan figures and tribal leaders in Sirte had recently visited Egypt for a meeting with officials to resolve the crisis.

Libya’s recognised government has been forced to run a rump state in the east since a group known as Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) took control of Tripoli in August. Since then, they have setup a rival government and parliament.

The North African country, a major oil producer, has slipped into a fierce civil war which has killed at least 2,800 people, according to the non-governmental organisation Libya Body Count.