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ICC Note: Libyan militants associated with the Islamic State have recently claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of at least twenty Coptic Christians. All twenty of those captured have been identified by relatives in a photo posted on a website run by the Islamic state on January 12th. According to the families of those kidnapped, they have yet to receive assistance from the Egyptian authorities.

By Barbara Baker

01/26/2015 Libya (World Watch Monitor) – The kidnapping of at least 20 Coptic Christians in two separate incidents in December and January has been claimed by Libyan militants affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Seven of the Christians were abducted on Dec. 29 while driving by car back to Egypt from the coastal city of Sirte, currently under the control of the Libya Dawn alliance of Islamist militants. Another 13 Copts were seized Jan. 3 in Sirte by armed men who raided the building where they lived. The attackers checked the men’s Egyptian I.D. papers, taking hostage those who were Christians and letting the Muslims go free.

“We were afraid to go out because we might be targeted,” said Mila Ishak, 27, who had been living in the same housing compound in Sirte as the kidnap victims. At about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 3, he told World Watch Monitor, he received a cell-phone call from a friend who occupied a room in an adjacent building.

The friend, Ishak said, “called me again and with fear and a low voice, told me that they were able to break the door of the room beside his room, and had abducted all their six friends who were inside the room.” Ishak said the intruders tried to break into the room from which his friend was calling, but gave up and left.

Then the intruders entered the building where Ishak lived. He said he heard one of them command another resident of the building, who was up at that hour, to “show them the rooms of the Christians in the building,” and to rouse the men sleeping inside. The man pounded on the door where seven men, all Christians, were sleeping.

“I was hearing everything,” Ishak said. “One of the seven residents of the room . . . awoke and opened the iron door of the room. They entered the room and abducted all of them too.”

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