ISIS Claims Responsibility for Kidnapping Christians in Libya; Terror Group Releases Photos of Men Bound, Blindfolded

ISIS supporters in Libya
An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna, drive along a road in Derna, eastern Libya, October 3, 2014. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on October 3, 2014, local media reported. |

The Islamic State's affiliate organization in Libya has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three African Christians in eastern Libya by posting the men's passport photos and pictures of them being bound and blindfolded on social media websites sympathetic to the terrorist group's cause.

The International Business Times reports that the three Christian men are migrants from three different countries in Africa — Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. The militant group posted the pictures of the men on jihadi social media websites on Saturday, where ISIS asserted that the three kidnapped men are in fact Christians.

An anonymous resident told Reuters that the abduction occurred in Noufliyah, an ISIS-controlled town southeast of Sirte. Mohamed El Hejazi, a military spokesman for Libya's official government, verified that the kidnappings occurred in that town.

Although it's unclear what the fate of the three kidnapped Christians will be, ISIS' affiliate in Libya has become notorious for releasing videos of bloody mass executions of Christians the group has kidnapped.

In February, ISIS released photos in its English-language magazine followed by a video showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Sirte. The men were abducted during two different attacks last December and early January. An ISIS spokesman in the video was quoted as saying: "We will conquer Rome, by allah's permission."

In April, ISIS released a 29-minute video showing the mass murder of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Sixteen of the men were lined up execution style in a barren area and shot, while at least 12 others were forced to walk along a shoreline before they were fatally shot.

In June, the militant group kidnapped at least 88 Eritrean refugees in Libya after abducting them from a human trafficking caravan. The group reportedly stopped the caravan and asked those inside the trucks to recite parts of the Quran and those who couldn't were abducted.

News of the three African Christians' abductions comes after the recent abduction of a Catholic clergymen in Syria. According to the Catholic Herald, Syrian Catholic clergyman Melkite Father Tony Boutros, who pastors the Church of St. Philip the Apostle in the Syrian town of Shahba, has reportedly gone missing.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the 50-year-old Boutros and his driver, Al-Said Abdun, were in Shahba and abducted by unidentified assailants after celebrating mass last Sunday.

News of Boutros' disappearance follows the abduction of an Iraqi Franciscan named Fr. Dhiya Aziz on July 4; he was later released on July 9 in northwest Syria. Aziz was believed to have been kidnapped by the extremist group al-Nusra Jabhat, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

According to the Herald, Boutros' abduction marks the eighth Syrian clergyman to be abducted in Syria during the civil conflict and rise of ISIS.

Pope Francis recently called for an end to ISIS genocide against the hundreds of thousands of Christians who've been violently slaughtered or driven from their homes in the Middle East and Africa.

"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus," Francis said on July 9. "In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."

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