Pope: Christians killed in Libya in 2015 were 'witnesses of Jesus'

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Wed, 17 Feb 2021 - 12:06 GMT

Pope Francis | Photo: Reuters

Pope Francis | Photo: Reuters

CAIRO -17 February 2020: Pope Francis sent a video message on the sixth anniversary of the killing of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by the Islamic States (ISIS), explained that those 21 Christians who “bore witness to Jesus Christ” were “ordinary men” who went abroad to support their families.
 
 
“Today is the day I have in my heart, that February of 2015,” the Pope said. “I hold in my heart that baptism of blood, those twenty-one men baptised as Christians with water and the Spirit, and that day also baptised with blood.”
 
 
“They are our Saints, Saints of all Christians, Saints of all Christian denominations and traditions,” the Pope affirmed. “They are those who have blanched their lives in the blood of the Lamb, they are those... of the people of God, the faithful people of God."
 
 

“Ordinary men, fathers of families, men with the desire to have children; men with the dignity of workers, who not only seek to bring home bread, but to bring it home with the dignity of work.”

 

“Their throats slit by the brutality of ISIS, they died saying, 'Lord Jesus!', confessing the name of Jesus,” the Pope said.

 

In 2015, a video had released by the jihadist Islamic State group (IS) on YouTube shows the beheading of more than a dozen men – purportedly Egyptian Christians – on a beach they said was in Libya's Tripoli.
 
 
Egypt's presidency confirmed the death of Egyptian hostages and announced a week of mourning, offering condolences to all Egyptians. The National Defence Council has also convened to discuss the situation, while President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt reserves its right to retaliate at the suitable time and place.
 

The five-minute video, produced by IS' media organ Alhayat Media Center, shows in a Hollywood style a group of masked men dressed in black from head to toe. They lead another group of men whose hands are tied behind their backs and wearing orange jumpsuits.

After keeping them on their knees for a while, the men in black lay the victims face down and slit their throats using daggers. After the decapitation they place the heads on the bodies.

A masked militant donning military camouflage uniform – the only IS member not wearing the black uniform in the video – speaks fluent English, albeit with a foreign accent, before and after the execution.

 

"Oh people, recently you've seen us on the hills of Al-Sham [Greater Syria] and on Dabeq's Plain, chopping off the heads that had been carrying the cross delusion for a long time, filled with spite against Islam and Muslims, and today we… are sending another message: oh crusaders, safety for you will be only wishes."

 

"Especially when you're fighting us all together, therefore we will fight you all together until the war lays down its burdens and Jesus peace be upon him will descend, breaking the cross, killing the swine," the speaker continues.

 

He concludes with a reference to Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader who was killed by US forces in 2011. "The sea you've hidden Sheikh Osama Bin Laden's body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood."

 

The extremely graphic video, titled A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross, ends with a shot of sea water mixed with blood, with jihadist hymns played.

 

Several Coptic Christians have been killed in Libya in recent years. Last year, the bodies of seven Christians who had been shot were found near the city of Benghazi.

 

 

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