Attack on Coptic church in Libya

Two Egyptians were killed and two injured in an apparent attack on a Coptic church near the Libyan city of Misrata Dec. 30. “Unknown assailants targeted a church building in the town of Dafniya, in Misrata [province], causing the death of two Egyptian citizens and wounding two others,” official news agency LANA reported. “The explosion happened after the mass ended and people were on their way out.” There were an estimated 1.5 million Egyptians living and working in Libya before the 2011 revolution. About two-thirds left during the war but many returned in 2012.

Before the revolt Libya had a population of around 6.3 million—including some 1.5 million African immigrants, many of whom fled during the fighting—that was 97% Muslim and only three percent Christian. The Christians are mostly expatriates, including migrant workers from neighboring Egypt where Coptic Christians are the largest religious minority. In August, the International Committee of the Red Cross shut its operations in Misrata after armed assailants laid siege to a staff residence. (Middle East Online, Dec. 31; BBC News, Dec. 30)