Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a news conference with his Italian counterpart Federica Mogherini at the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo, Friday, July 18, 2014 (Photo: AP)
Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs has no new updates about Egyptian abductees in Libya, including about 21 Coptic Christian Egyptian workers kidnapped by the Islamic State in Sirte, the ministry’s official spokesperson Badr Abdel Atti said on Sunday.
“There have been no new updates about the Egyptian abductees in Libya and up till now there has been no confirmation...if something bad happened to them- heavens forbid not,” Abdel Atti told Ahram Online, adding that there are talks between Egyptian and Libyan officials on the matter.
On Thursday an Islamic State publication in English known as “Dabiq” published a report about 21 Christian Egyptian workers who were abducted in Sirte, Libya between December and January. The IS militants claimed the kidnapped Egyptian Christians had been captured to avenge the Muslim women "tortured and murdered by the Coptic Church of Egypt".
The report showed two undated photos of the abducted workers wearing orange jumpsuits, usually worn on prisoners before they are executed by the jihadists.
The photos led some Egyptian newspapers and TV channels to speculate and announce that the 21 migrant workers were already killed by the militant group.
There have also been contradicting news from different Libyan sources- including officials- in the past 48 hours regarding the fate of the abducted workers and whether they were alive or not.
On Saturday the head of fishermen’s syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate claimed that another 21 Egyptian fishermen were abducted by Libyan militants in the city of Misrata, in north-west Libya.
“We are following the matter of the 21 Egyptian fishermen and already sent their details to the crisis committee assigned by President El-Sisi to keep up to date on the Egyptian abductees in Libya,” Ambassador Abdel Atti told Ahram Online, adding that Egyptian authorities are conducting talks with the Libyan officials in the city of Misrata in an attempt to discover the fate of the fishermen.
Egypt’s minister of foreign affair's, Sameh Shoukry, will head to New York in the next two days to discuss the case of Egyptians in Libya as well the Libyan security situation with members in the Security Council, according to an official statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs on Sunday afternoon.
Shoukry will head later to Washington to participate in the Global Security and anti-terrorism summit on18 February.