Patriarch of Alexandria on 21 Murdered Copts

Says Those Kidnapped, Murdered by Jihadists in Libya Are Martyrs for the Faith

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The Patriarch of Alexandria of Coptic Catholics, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, has expressed his condolences to all the loved ones of the 21 Egyptian Copts decapitated in Libya by jihadists affiliated with the so-called Islamic State (IS), reported Fides.

The patriarch said he “offers his condolence to all the families of these martyrs who gave their lives for the faith, and at the same time expresses his gratitude to President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and all the institutions of the Egyptian government for giving an immediate response to this act of terrorism.” 

The Primate of the Coptic Catholic Church said the tragic death of these Orthodox Coptic brothers, in a statement given to Fides through patriarchate personnel, is to be seen through the eyes of faith.

The primate also underlined that the entire country is united in its reaction to bloodthirsty barbarity on the part of jihadists.

“This tragedy,” said Fr. Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, Coptic Catholic Patriarchate secretary, “is uniting the entire country, Christians and Muslims. If their aim was to divide us, they have failed. Immediate harsh condemnation came from Cairo’s Al Azhar University.»

“The swift retaliation on the part of the Egyptian air force on Islamic State bases in Libya,” he added, “also demonstrated that for the Egyptian government its citizens are all equal and that Egypt is suffering as a nation from the bloodthirsty delirium of the terrorists.” 

A video of the decapitation of the 21 Copts kidnapped in Libya at the beginning of January, was put on line by jihadist websites yesterday Feb. 15

This morning, Egyptian Air force planes attacked and bombed jihadist positions in Libya, mainly in the area of Derna.

A statement issued by Egyptian armed forces regarding raids in Libyan territory states that the “Revenge for Egyptian blood is an absolute right and will be implemented.”

Egypt, the statement continues, claims the right to defend its national security and stability from any criminal attacks on the part of “individual terrorists or groups inside and outside the nation.”

For the 21 murdered Copts, Egypt’s presidency announced 7 days of national mourning.

Pope Francis has also expressed his great sorrow for those murdered for their faith. During an audience this morning with representatives of the Church of Scotland, he spoke off the cuff in Spanish to decry the massacre.

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