President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received 20 Egyptians on Tuesday who were previously abducted in eastern Libya, promising them compensation and job opportunities.
Sisi extended his gratitude to Egyptian intelligence, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry and the Libyan national army, saying collaboration between the various parties is what led to the release of the captives.
“We could not leave our sons in danger, but we were working slowly to free them in order not to harm them,” Sisi asserted, adding that each of the men would be given LE2000 compensation.
He explained that the Egyptian government is working on national mega-projects that offer real job opportunities requiring an extensive labor force. In a speech earlier this month, Sisi promised 2016 would be the year of Egyptian youth, declaring various initiatives and projects to provide job opportunities for young people.
Many Egyptian nationals have been working and living in Libya due to a lack of job opportunities in Egypt. A number of hostage situations have arisen in recent months after violent clashes between Islamic State militants and the Libyan army.
Twenty-one Coptic Christians were beheaded by the Islamic State in February last year, and photos were released of the men wearing orange jumpsuits, handcuffed, blindfolded and driven by masked men along a beach, amid unconfirmed reports of their deaths. The Islamic State later released a video titled, “A Message with Blood,” showing the graphic beheading of a group of men, purportedly Egyptian Copts, on a beach in Tripoli.
A masked man states in the video that the beheadings took place in “Islamic Libya, south of Rome,” adding, “We will fight you until Christ descends, breaks the cross and kills the swine.”
Immediately after the beheadings, Egypt launched a military strike in collaboration with the Libyan military against Islamic State strongholds in Libya, killing 64 Islamic State members and hitting 95 percent of their intended targets, according to Libyan military spokesperson Mohamed Hegazy. The attacks targeted mansions belonging to fallen Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi’s regime in the eastern city of Derna, which allegedly sheltered Islamic State members.