Masked gunmen storm Libyan complex, abduct 13 Egyptian Christian Copts

(Photo: REUTERS / Stringer)Relatives of seven Egyptians killed in a beach react outside the morgue in Benghazi February 24, 2014. Libyan police have found seven Egyptian Christians shot dead on a beach in eastern Libya, security officials and local residents said on Monday, in the second such execution-style killing since the start of the year. A police officer told Reuters the bodies were found with gunshots to the head outside Benghazi in the east, where assassinations, kidnappings and car bombs are common and Islamist militants are active

Just a week after seven Egyptian Christians were abducted in northern Libya, masked gunmen kidnapped 13 Copts on January 3 in the south coast city of Sirte, authorities in the besieged North African country say.

The abduction is the latest of a spate of attacks on Egyptian Christians in Libya.

It occurred after Islamist militants stormed a residential complex for expatriates in on Sirte the morning of January 3, reported The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

Magdy Malik, an Egypt-based Christian activist, said the gunmen took 13 Christians after checking every room of the complex.

A witness said around 15 abductors, who came in four vehicles, went from room to room, and handcuffed Christians, leaving Muslims behind.

"They had a list of full names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Mulsims were left aside while Christians were grabbed," Hanna Aziz told the Associated Press news agency. The incident occurred at around 2:30 a.m. local time.

Christians, especially Egyptians, have become one of the targets of Islamic extremist militias in Libya after Muammar Gadhafi was toppled in a civil war in 2011.

The attacks on Egyptians working in the country surged after the Egyptian government began supporting the Libyan army fighting Islamic militants.

Last week, seven other Coptic Christians from Samalout were kidnapped while attempting to escape from Sirte.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Egypt's foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry had already met with senior church officials after news of the abduction broke out amid efforts to solve the crisis.

But the ministry's spokesperson said on Al-Hayat, the State-owned television station, a formal diplomatic mission to retrieve the Egyptians would be hard.

That is because much of Libya falls outside of the officially recognized government's control, the report said.

In February last year, the bodies of seven Christian Egyptians were found in the eastern city of Benghazi. They sustained gunshots to the head while handcuffed.

According to local reports, a Coptic doctor and his wife and their daughter were killed in their home in early December.

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