The group of Egyptian men beheaded in Libya, originally placed at 21, and which prompted Egyptian airstrikes in retaliation, is now believed to comprise of 20, a Minya church official said.
Bishop Estifanios Shehata, of the diocese the kidnapped men hailed from, told Reuters’ Aswat Masriya that his diocese’s list of the Christians killed by militants associating with “Islamic State” only included 20 names.
An official at the United Nations’ Cairo media office also told the news agency that only 20 Coptic Egyptians were beheaded by the Libyan militants. It cited the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A statement released on Tuesday by High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein condemned the killings of “20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and apparently another Christian man”.
The identity of the 21st victim remains unknown, according to the United Nations media office.
The Coptic Egyptians were captured on two separate occasions from the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte between December and January. The video of the execution of those kidnapped was staged on the coast by the group affiliating with “Islamic State”.
According to Monday reports from the Libya Herald and Egyptian state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, 35 more Egyptians were detained in areas known to be controlled by militant groups Ansar Al-Sharia and “Islamic State” in Libya.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is currently assisting the evacuation of nationals from Libya. The Ministry has long warned of the dangers of working in the politically and militarily volatile state, and has established an agreement with Tunisia to aid the exit of Egyptians from the West of Libya.