A human rights group has urged the House of Representatives to intervene to speed up efforts to locate eight Egyptians believed to be kidnapped by Islamic State militants in Libya between July and September 2014.
According to a list prepared by the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, the missing individuals include seven Copts and one Muslim. Extremist groups, which grew in influence since the ouster of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, have specifically targeted Egyptian Copts in recent years.
According to the organization, four Copts were kidnapped in August 2014 on their way back to Egypt but were caught in the city of Sirte near the border with Egypt. The commission quoted the kidnapped Egyptians' Muslim colleague, who was spared detention by the captors after disclosing his faith.
A fifth Copt was kidnapped in the same month, according to the organization.
Another Christian and a Muslim colleague also disappeared in September and were taken to an unknown location, the organization added, adding that July 2015 also saw one Copt declared a hostage by IS-linked social networks.
The organization said it has sent the Egyptian presidency information on the dilemma of the missing eight, adding that it has held several meetings between their families and Foreign Ministry officials.
The organization said its latest statement comes on the first anniversary of the beheading of 20 Egyptian Copts by Islamic State captors, an incident depicted in a viral, gruesome video that prompted Egypt to launch brief airstrikes on the group’s strongholds in Libya.