Libya: Violence against Christians growing at an alarming rate

By Open Doors

With eight Christians killed in one week and one murder attempt on another Egyptian Christian this week in Libya, the violence against Christians is growing at an alarming rate. The killings have caused fear among Christians, especially in the eastern city of Benghazi where all the shootings took place.

On Sunday, a body was found in Benghazi’s Jarutha district. The man, who had multiple gunshot wounds, has not been identified. A small tattooed cross on his hand indicated that he is a Christian from Egypt. Many Egyptian Copts have this kind of tattoo on one of their hands.

On Monday, an Egyptian grocer, also understood to be a Coptic Christian, was in critical condition after being shot. A week earlier, the bodies of seven Egyptian Coptic Christians were found at a beach in the Jarutha suburb.

According to Gerrit Coetzee, CEO of Open Doors SA, this is the latest in a number of attacks in the city, which appear to be “deliberately targeting Egyptian Copts.”

“What we hear is that the Christians were specifically targeted by these unknown perpetrators. The seven Egyptian Christians killed last week were taken from their apartments where the armed men searched for Christians.”

Coetzee says that the situation in Libya seems to be deteriorating in the direction of a “failed state.”

“The government doesn’t really control the nation,” he explains. “The armed groups in the country can do what they want.” As a consequence of this, kidnappings, robberies and murder are part of daily life in Libya.

A new development is the specific targeting of Christians. Coetzee adds: “The Christians in Libya need our prayers. Pray that the Lord gives them wisdom what to do in this situation, and that He would comfort the relatives and friends of the Christians that were killed or wounded over the past week.”

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