AFRICA/LIBYA - The Coptic church in Benghazi set on fire

Friday, 15 March 2013

Tripoli (Agenzia Fides) - The Coptic church in Benghazi was set on fire by unknown persons. The event took place yesterday, March 14. According to reports from the site of the "The Libya Herald" newspaper, unknown assailants attacked the building, and after releasing the faithful, set it on fire.
The priest took refuge at the local Egyptian Consulate, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Cairo condemned the attack.
Yesterday's was the lastest act of violence against the Coptic community in Benghazi, consisting mainly of Egyptians. On February 28, a group supposedly formed by Islamists attacked a priest and his assistant. The attack, which was condemned by the Libyan Government had taken place shortly after the arrest of fifty Copts accused of proselytizing.
These were later expelled from the Country, even if the accusations of proselytism were withdrawn.
According to "The Libya Herald", yesterday’s episode seems to be a retaliation for the assault on March 11 against the Libyan embassy in Cairo by a group of Egyptian Copts who were protesting on March 10 in a prison in Tripoli the death of an Egyptian Christian, who had been tortured. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/03/2013)