(JNS.org) Seven Egyptian Christians were found dead in an execution-style arrangement on a beach in eastern Libya on Monday.
According to the Libyan police, the victims were found with gunshot wounds to the head.
“They were killed by headshots in execution style,” a Libyan police officer told Reuters. “We don’t know who killed them.”
In a statement, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdul al-Ati denounced the crimes as “heinous” and said that Egypt “expects [Libya] to hand in the latest results of its investigation as soon as possible and bring those accused to justice,” Al-Arabiya reported.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Ansar al-Sharia is very active in eastern Libya. The group is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., which blames it for being behind the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Though modern Libya is predominately a Muslim country, Christianity—like Judaism—has been present there since antiquity. Historically, the Egyptian Coptic Christian Church has claimed jurisdiction over ancient regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica located in Libya, and today comprises the majority of Christians in Libya along with European immigrants.