The authorities have finally begun conducting DNA tests on the remains believed to be the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya in February 2015. The families estimate that the results will be determined within the upcoming week, after which the bodies are expected to be sent to Aour village within a period of ten days of verifying their identity. The bodies are expected to be laid to rest in the Church of the Martyrs of Libya in Aour village, which is scheduled to open to the public in late November. The families are eagerly awaiting for the return of their loved ones. The upcoming burial ceremony will finally offer them the opportunity for closure and allow the martyrs to be buried with the dignity they deserve.
11/04/2017 Egypt (Agenzia Fides) – Egyptian authorities have been conducting DNA tests on the deadly remains of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya by jihadists linked to the Islamic State, whose bodies were found in early October, buried in a coastal area in the town of Sirte.
Families of the “Libyan martyrs” have received from the Department of Legal Medicine the invitation to visit the health facilities in Minya to undergo a DNA test that will identify the individual bodies of the martyrs. Family members of the martyrs – report the Egyptian media – expressed joy and hope that this process will allow the identification of individual bodies before burial, which should take place at the church-shrine built in their memory in the village of Samalut.
On Friday, October 6, the Egyptian authorities had officially confirmed the discovery of the remains of the 21 Copts beheaded. The bodies had been found with their hands tied behind their back, and were wearing the same orange-colored tracksuits they wore in the macabre video filmed by the executioners at the time of their decapitation. Even the heads of the victims were found next to their bodies.
The video of the decapitation of the 21 Egyptian Copts was spread on the jihadist websites in February 2015. A week after the film’s release, Orthodox Catholic Patriarch Tawadros II decided to register the 21 martyrs in the Synaxarium, the book of martyrs of the Coptic Church, establishing that their memory was to be celebrated on February 15.