Two Coptic Christians Killed In Libya Church Attack

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
December 31, 2012|10:56 am

A Coptic Church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misrata, in Libya, was attacked over the weekend, killing two and injuring two others, according to local news reports. 

"Egypt is requesting an investigation into the circumstances of the operation and for those responsible to be put on trial," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, according to the Associated Foreign Press. 

The exact date of the explosion varies depending on the news agency; some are claiming the explosion occurred Saturday, as congregants left the church following a church service, while others claim it occurred Sunday, while church workers had lunch inside the building.

The explosion reportedly occurred when two unknown assailants threw a home-made dynamite device, usually used for fishing, into the annex portion of the Mar Girgis [St George] Church, according to BBC News.

"The explosion seems like it was very strong and I have started making my investigations with Misrata officials," Tareq Dahrouj, the Egyptian consul in the city, told Reuters shortly after he visited the location of the attack. 

Security has reportedly been reinforced at the church since the explosion, and authorities are hoping to narrow down potential suspects and motives in the coming few days.

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Multiple media outlets report that the weekend attack serves as the first assault against the Christian religion since the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011. Libya's Christian minority consists predominately of Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians living in the Muslim-dominated country.

Many Egyptians fled the country during the 2011 revolt leading up to the toppling of Gaddafi, returning after the former dictator was killed.

Foreign aid workers were also recently attacked in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, when on Sept. 11, 2012, a heavily-armed group attacked the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, killing U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff.

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