ISIS Claims Capture of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians

Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The latest issue of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terror group’s Dabiq magazine features a section purportedly showing the abduction of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians.

The twenty-one Copts were reportedly abducted in the Libyan city of Sirte in two separate instances. Seven of them were kidnapped on December 31, and the other fourteen were taken on January 3, according to Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty.

As a result of the kidnappings, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has dedicated resources to evacuating Egyptian citizens from Libya, state television reported on Thursday night.

The Egyptian President’s office released a statement late on Thursday, revealing that a committee has been formed to “follow the matter minute-by-minute, making extensive and ongoing contacts with official and non-official concerned Libyan parties in order to clarify the situation and learn the truth.”

Egypt will “spare no effort in tracking down the kidnapped Egyptian citizens,” the statement added.

“They pretty much own Libya,” a U.S. counter-terrorism official told ABC News earlier this week regarding the Islamic State.

In its Worldwide Threat Assessment last week, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issued a warning about the Islamic State’s expansion into Libya. “Particularly concerning has been the spread of ISIL beyond Syria and Iraq. With affiliates in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, the group is beginning to assemble a growing international footprint that includes ungoverned and under governed areas,” the DIA memo stated.

The Islamic State jihadists claimed that they captured the Copts to “avenge the kidnapping of Muslim women by the Egyptian Coptic Church.” Throughout its several issues of Dabiq, ISIS has framed its jihad in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere as a war between Muslims and the “Crusader armies.”