20 Egyptian Copts, one of African nationality in IS beheading video

Marina Barsoum , Wednesday 18 Feb 2015

Minya bishop tells Ahram Online that 13 of 20 Egyptian Christians slaughtered in Libya by the Islamic State came from the same village

In this file image made from a video released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purportedly shows Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant. (Photo: AP)

After an accurate tally of the number of Christians recently slaughtered by Islamic State militants in Libya was completed, a breakdown by nationality shows 20 victims were Egyptian Copts and one of Sub-Saharan origin, Bishop Macarios of Minya told Ahram Online.

"No matter what his nationality is, the Orthodox Church considers him as one of its sons," says Macarios.

A video released Sunday by the militant Islamic State group on YouTube shows the beheading on a beach of more than a dozen men the group said were Coptic Christians.

A black man appeared in the extremely graphic video, titled "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross."

Unconfirmed reports say that the African was from the Republic of Chad in central Africa.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Samalut issued the names of 20 slain Coptic Egyptians who hailed from Upper Egypt governorate of Minya.

According to the diocese statement, 13 Egyptian victims come from the same village, Al-Our; in which a symbolic funeral ceremony took place Monday.  

Mostly from impoverished villages, the victims were kidnapped between late December and early January in the Libyan city of Sirte.

For decades, Libya has been a major destination for Egyptian migrant workers due to its once booming oil economy, geographical proximity and open borders.

Until April 2011, Egyptians were allowed to enter and reside in Libya without a visa.

No official number exists for Egyptian workers in Libya, Egypt's Minister of Manpower Nahed El-Ashri told the press Friday, because large numbers travel illegally into the oil-rich North African country.

El-Ashri, however, estimated the number to stand between 800,000 and 900,000.

Egypt launched airstrikes in coordination with Libyan forces against Islamic State militant group locations in Libya's city of Derna early Monday, hours after the group released the video.

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