Bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians beheaded in Libya arrive in Egypt

Coffins containing the remains of the bodies of Egyptian Copts killed by ISIS in Sirte are loaded to the plane to be transferred to Egypt, in Misrata, Libya on May 14, 2018.
Coffins containing the remains of the bodies of Egyptian Copts killed by ISIS in Sirte are loaded to the plane to be transferred to Egypt, in Misrata, Libya on May 14, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

MISRATA, LIBYA/CAIRO (REUTESR) - The bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians beheaded in Libya by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2015 were flown back to Cairo on Monday (May 14), Egyptian state television reported.

The victims had been among the many poor Egyptians who risked their lives to find work in the lawless chaos of Libya following the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and civil war.

The Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in ISIS' former Libyan stronghold of Sirte, wearing orange jumpsuits, according to a video posted by ISIS.

Their bodies were recovered in October after the area where they were buried was recaptured from the militant ISIS.

Islamic State took control of Sirte in 2015 and lost the city late last year to local forces backed by US air strikes.

A total of 21 people were beheaded in the incident. The body of a Ghanaian killed was not on board the plane that brought the Egyptian bodies from Misrata in western Libya to Cairo.

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt, Pope Tawadros II, was at the airport to receive the remains, brought in coffins aboard an aircraft from Misrata, a local television station, which broadcast live from the airport, said.

The bodies are expected to be taken back for burial in Egypt's Minya province.