Three years after 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped and executed by ISIS militants in the city of Sirt in Libya, the Libyan attorney general, Siddiq Soor, agreed to return the bodies upon the request of Egypt’s public prosecutor.
According to local media sources, the head of the Interrogations Office said that Libyan authorities received the request from Egypt’s public prosecutor through the Libyan foreign ministry.
He added that the bodies were presented to forensics and DNA samples were taken.
A committee from the foreign affairs and attorney general’s office met with the Egyptian public prosecutor and handed him the forensic samples that were taken from the bodies in order for them to be identified with the victims’ families.
He confirmed that the bodies will be returned to Egypt, and that there are serious efforts in making sure that happens.
The killings, documented in a grisly video released online by the extremists in 2015, shocked Egypt and led it to launch punitive airstrikes.
According to CBN News, the Coptic community in Egypt recently honored the martyrs by erecting a new church in the city of Al-Aour, home of 13 of the victims.
SAT-7, a broadcast ministry to the Middle East, told the media outlet that hundreds of people from around the region piled into the church, which was funded by the Egyptian government, to honor the slain Christians.
“Today we remember our martyrs who were killed in Libya three years ago,” the bishop said. “Knives were held to their throats to force them to deny their faith after 40 days of being kidnapped, insulted, and threatened. But like the martyrs of every era in the history of our church, they held on to Christ. They are an example for us to hold on to our faith and to Christ regardless of circumstances.”
Photographs of the 21 martyrs were displayed in the front of the church as a reminder of the ultimate price they paid for their faith.