UK’s top archbishop offers condolences in Egypt visit
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Church of England leader, offered his condolences to Egyptian officials Sunday over the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians by jihadists in Libya.
The Copts, 20 of them Egyptian, had traveled to Libya for work. They were kidnapped and executed by Islamic State (IS) militants in February, provoking Egyptian airstrikes on IS targets in the strifetorn country.
During his one-day visit, Welby met President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam and Coptic Pope Tawadros II, officials said.
Welby offered his “condolence over the killings” of the Copts, Sissi's office said in a statement.
He was also to lead a communion service at the All Saint's Anglican Cathedral in Cairo’s upscale Zamalek district.
In sermons and speeches, Welby has called for greater support for Christians in the Middle East and Africa.
He has also backed military action against IS jihadists in Iraq, warning that the group represents an “extraordinary, once in a millennium threat.”
On Sunday, the group released a video purportedly showing the execution of some 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya.