Thirteen Coptic Egyptian workers have been kidnapped in the Libyan city Sirte, an official from the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
The latest incident brings the number of Egyptian Copts currently abducted in neighbouring Libya to 20. Egyptian authorities have reported the kidnap of seven Coptic nationals last week, also in Sirte.
The official, who works at the ministry’s consulate sector, told Aswat Masriya that Egypt’s ambassador to Libya is communicating with Libyan tribal leaders and independent figures to secure the kidnapped nationals’ release.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that the Libyan authorities have no control over areas claimed by extremist groups, especially in Sirte.
Several Egyptians had been caught up in the militant fighting gripping Libya, which has recently intensified in measures unprecedented since the overthrow of late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Many Egyptians have been killed, while others found themselves the victims of kidnapping.
Unidentified assailants killed a Coptic Egyptian doctor and his wife in Sirte and kidnapped their daughter on December 23. The body of abducted teenage daughter was later found on Thursday.
The foreign ministry constantly reiterates its warning to all Egyptians residing in Libya, calling on them to avoid any conflict areas. It also keeps renewing its travel alert to the neighbouring country, urging those travelling to Libya to secure a visa from the Libyan embassy prior to their travel.