Reports that 12 Egyptians were kidnapped in Libya by Islamist militants remain unconfirmed by both the Libyan authorities and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
The date of the alleged kidnappings also remains unknown, although initial reports that they had taken place surfaced earlier this week.
However, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry source told Daily News Egypt Wednesday that Libyan authorities denied the reports of the kidnappings that appeared in local Libyan media.
The source added that, due to the withdrawal of Egyptian diplomats from areas under the control of militants affiliated to “Islamic State” (IS) in North Libya, the reports could not be confirmed.
Libyan news website Al-Wasat first reported on Sunday that the IS branch in the Libyan city of Sirte had kidnapped 12 Egyptian workers who were on their way home, attributing the news to eyewitnesses.
Further reports by Egyptian state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm suggested the kidnapped managed to escape.
According to Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Dairi, Sirte residents have, since last Wednesday, witnessed massacres by Islamic State (IS)-affiliates in the area.
Sirte witnessed the decapitations of 20 Egyptian Copts and one Ethiopian Christian in February, an act for which IS affiliates claimed responsibility. Over the past few months, IS affiliates were able to gain ground in the Libyan city by seizing its airport and military airbase. Following the decapitations of the Copts, Egypt launched airstrikes on the city of Derna, which is known for being an Islamist stronghold.
Jordan, Libya and Egypt have called on the UN Security Council to lift the weapons embargo imposed on the Libyan army, to allow it to defend the country and its people.