13 Egyptians kidnapped in Libya's Sirte released

13 Egyptians kidnapped in Libya
# 05 January 2015 20:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Thirteen Egyptian Copts reportedly abducted on Saturday in the Libyan city of Sirte were released on Monday, according to a tribal source of the city, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"The Egyptians have been detained by one of the dealers of illegal immigration due to a disagreement over the value of transporting them to the city," said Meftah Marzoug, Chairman of the Elders Council of Sirte.

Marzoug said all Egyptians are in good health and unharmed, denying any contact between the tribes of Sirte and any Egyptian tribes.

Marzoug also noted that the intervention of the elders of the city contributed to the release of the Egyptians. He did not give further details about the release or the Egyptians' religious background.

Both Libyan and Egyptian authorities earlier said 13 Egyptian Copts were abducted. Sources of the Libyan government said on Saturday that gunmen kidnapped the 13 Egyptian Copts working in the coastal city of Sirte. The sources also said that seven others had been kidnapped a few days ago in the city.

The sources did not reveal the time of the kidnapping or gender of the Egyptians. However, the sources attributed the incident to Ansar al-Sharia militant group, which is included in UN Security Council's list of terrorist organizations.

Christian foreigners have been targeted several times in Libya. Last week, a family of Egyptian Christians were found killed. The husband, a doctor, and his pharmacist wife were shot dead at their residence, while their 18-year-old daughter was found dead 17 km west of Sirte.

Libya is an ideal destination for thousands of Egyptian workers, many of whom are hired in construction sector.