The headless corpse of Mansour Saad Awad, an Egyptian Christian, has been found by Libyan security forces on the outskirts of the town of Mechili, in eastern Libya. The victim of the barbaric murder worked in a poultry farm in the area. No one has yet stepped forward to take credit for the slaying, but the m.o. matches the preferred execution style of the Islamic State (ISIS).
On Tuesday, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II met with the families of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by jihadist terrorists linked to the Islamic State. The meeting was held in the village of Samalot, 15 miles from Minya, in the home province of most of the victims. During the meeting, the primate of the Coptic Church delivered the victims’ death certificates to the families.
In a homily on Monday, the Patriarch said that the martyrs of Libya “have enriched the Church with their blood,” and that by their martyrdom they confessed and witnessed to their faith in Christ before the world.
Tawadros has declared that the 21 Christians massacred in Libya will be celebrated as martyrs and saints by the Coptic Church.
Meanwhile, military engagement continues with ISIS fighters taking control of oil fields and the Libyan army moving against the Islamist stronghold of Derna.
According to reports from Libya’s oil industry security service, militants loyal to the Islamic State captured two oil fields east of Tripoli on Tuesday.
“Extremists took control of the al-Bahi and al-Mabrouk fields and are now heading to seize the al-Dahra field following the retreat of the force guarding these sites, due to lack of ammunition,” Colonel Ali al-Hassi said.
According to a spokesman for the commander of the Libyan armed forces, General Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan army has surrounded the city of Derna, where ISIS proclaimed a Caliphate. Troops are standing by awaiting orders to lay siege to the city.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.