20 Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya during the last few days

Thirteen Coptic Christians working in Libya  were abducted yesterday, bringing the total to 20 Copts kidnapped in recent days.

The Blaze:

Witness Hanna Aziz told The Associated Press that the gunmen in the Libyan city of Sirte went room to room in their residence at 2:30 a.m. Saturday and asked for identification papers to separate Muslim workers from Christians. Aziz says the gunmen handcuffed the Christians and drove away with them.

“They were 15 armed and masked men who came in four vehicles. They had a list of full names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Muslims were left aside while Christians were grabbed,” Aziz said, adding that he survived simply because he didn’t open his door.

“I heard my friends screaming but they were quickly shushed at gunpoint. After that, we heard nothing,” said Aziz who said he has three relatives among the hostages. “I am still in my room waiting for them to take me. I want to die with them,” he added.

Abu Makar, a Coptic priest in the workers’ hometown of Samalout in southern Egypt, confirmed the abduction took place. He said seven other Coptic Christians from Samalout were taken while trying to escape Sirte a few days earlier.

Sirte has become a safe haven for extremist Islamist groups like Ansar al-Shariah, blamed for the September 2013 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The abduction came on the heels of the killing of a Coptic couple — who used to work as doctors in Sirte— and their daughter.

There was no immediate comment from the Egyptian government. On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said that it is following up on the case of the first group of seven abducted Christians.

In March, the bodies of seven Christian Egyptians were found in the eastern city of Benghazi, killed by gunshots to the head while handcuffed.

In March 2013, dozens of Coptic Christians were tortured inside a detention center run by a powerful militia in Benghazi. The men, who were suspected of proselytizing, were rounded up in a market by gunmen who checked their right wrists for tattoos of crosses, a common mark worn by many Egyptian Christians.

The chaos in Libya is the result of extremists battling those not quite as extreme. There is no middle ground anymore and Christians are caught in the middle. The jihadists on both sides appear to pause in their campaign to obliterate each other in order to take care of their "Christian problem," systematically emptying the country of Copts.

It is likely that those kidnapped will suffer the fate of other Christians whose bodies have been found recently. The sad fact is there is no protection for Christians from any Arab government  which means these depradations will continue.

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