Libya to return remains of Copts beheaded by IS

Libya to return remains of 20 Copts beheaded by IS
2 min read
The Egyptian Christians were beheaded on a beach in Sirtre, Libya in February 2015, a move which drew international outrage.
Coffin of Egyptian Christian killed in Libya during a ceremony in Cairo [Getty]
Libya announced on Monday that it will return the remains of 20 Egyptian Christians who were killed in 2015 by the Islamic State in Sirtre, a former stronghold of the hardline group. 

The remains were recovered in October after local forces recaptured the region. 

The beading of Coptic Christians drew international outrage after the Islamic State posted a video in February 2015 of them wearing orange jumpsuits and beheaded on a beach. 

The Islamic State in 2015 seized Sirtre, the hometown of former strongman Moammar Gaddafi, but lost control of the city last year. US airstrikes helped local forces recapture the area.

Their bodies will be transported from Misrata to Egypt, a Libyan official told Reuters, adding that one of the beading victims was a Ghanian national. 

Egypt launched airstrikes one day after the Islamic State posted the beheadings video. The strikes targeted training camps and weapons stockpiles, and reportedly killed up to 64 members of the group.

Libyan media reported that 35 Egyptians, mainly farmers, were rounded up in areas controlled by the Islamic State following the airstrikes. 

Although the Islamic State has lost large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, the group remains a potent force in the North African country. It has established training centres and operational headquarters in central and southern Libya, despite being pushed out of Sirtre and Derna. 

Earlier this month, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the double suicide attack against the High National Election Commission in Tripoli that left 16 dead. 

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