Gunmen attack Coptic church in Benghazi, state media report

| Sunday, March 3, 2013, 8:15 p.m.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Gunmen attacked an Egyptian Coptic church in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, assaulting two priests, the official LANA news agency quoted the foreign ministry on Sunday.

The foreign ministry said it “strongly condemned Thursday's attack on the Egyptian church ... and the aggression towards Father Paul Isaac and his assistant by the irresponsible armed men,” LANA reported.

The statement did not elaborate on the attacks but said an inquiry committee involving the interior, defense and justice ministries had been formed and had “taken the necessary measures to secure the church and its occupants.”

The ministry expressed “deep concern” over the attack, saying it was “contrary to the rules” of Islam and international human rights laws.

Libya's small Christian community has expressed fears over Islamist extremism as the government struggles to impose its authority.

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