TRIPOLI, Libya – Witnesses say that unidentified assailants have torched a church used by Egyptian Christians in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, a week after scores were detained and reportedly abused by militias there for alleged proselytization.
Flames were seen rising from the church late Thursday, witnesses said. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning what it described as "assault."
Abdel-Salam al-Barghathi, a security official in Benghazi, said his forces stopped angry men from doing more damage to the church. He says they were angry about a protest in Cairo by Christians over the death of one of the detainees, whose family says he died of torture.
But al-Barghathi appeared to blame the Christian protesters for the violence. He said the detained Christian died of natural causes and confessed before his death.