In Minya, hundreds mourn local men slaughtered in Libya

Marina Barsoum , Monday 16 Feb 2015

In Al-Our village, families, mourners and officials attend funeral ceremony for 21 Copts decapitated by Islamic State militants

A woman mourns for the Egyptian Coptic Christians captured in Libya and killed by Islamic State militants, outside of the Virgin Mary church in the village of El-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Hundreds of grieving mourners in Al-Our village in Minya on Monday bade farewell to the 21 Egyptian victims killed by Islamic State militants in Libya.

At a funeral prayer at Saint Mary's Church in the Upper Egyptian village where most of the 21 migrant workers were from, women dressed in black demanded revenge for their sons, husbands and relatives.

A video released on Sunday evening showed 21 Coptic Egyptians, kidnapped in Libya several weeks earlier, being beheaded by masked men who belong to the militant group.

Mourners held pictures of the victims and banners calling for action from authorities, Andrew Aziz, who attended the funeral procession with mourners from other neighbouring villages, told Ahram Online.

Father Estefanos Shehata of Samalut in Minya told Ahram Online that many of the relatives have collapsed from shock.

"All the families are in deep sorrow; some of them are not conscious and are in hospital as they cannot bear the situation," he said.

The priest called for a new church to be named after the 21 men who were killed.

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II sent a delegation consisting of four bishops to attend the funeral, according to an official statement issued by the spokesperson to the church.

Governor of Minya Salah El-Din Zeyada, along with many other officials, also attended the funeral.

A delegation from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) also travelled to Minya to extend condolences to the families of the victims.

The pope has also said that memorial services would be held in Egypt`s main Coptic cathedral on Tuesday.  

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi visited the cathedral on Monday to extend his condolences to the pope. The visit came after hours after the Egyptian army announced that it has carried out airstrikes against IS training camps and arms depots in Libya.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has condemned what he called an "awful crime" and said that each of the 21 men's families will receive monetary compensation of LE100,000.  

Later on Monday, Mahlab along with Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali, Sports Minister Khaled Abdel Aziz, and Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, travelled to Minya to extend condolences to the victims' families. 

Mahalb told the relatives that "the martyrs are in paradise, and we will not forget you."

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