Suspected terrorists on Sunday tossed a bomb at a building belonging to a Christian church located in western Libya. The explosion killed two Egyptian men and wounded two others, according to an Israeli source who monitors North African terrorist groups and incidents of terrorism.
The alleged attackers are said to have thrown an improvised explosive device (IED) at an administration building belonging to the Egyptian Coptic Church in Dafniya, close to the city of Misrata, the source told Law Enforcement Examiner.
According to the local news media, the Egyptian consul in the city, Tareq Dahrouj, said he had visited the church and the building where the two church workers were killed early on Sunday.
"The explosion seems like it was very strong and I have started [sic] making my investigations with Misrata officials," he said.
According to the U.S. State Department, there are small communities of Egyptians, Greeks and Italians in Libya who account for most of the Christian minority in the predominantly Islamic country.
Libya's fledgling government is finding it difficult to impose its authority on a number of armed groups of Islamists and militias, who helped depose and kill Libyan dictator Moamar Khadhafi last year. However, now these armed groups are refusing to lay down their arms.
Sunday's attack was the first major assault on a Christian target since the anti-Khadhafi revolution in 2011.
In Egypt, following the removal in 2011 of President Hosni Mubarak, Coptic Christians have become increasingly fearful over the attacks on Christian churches and individuals, which they blame on radical Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.
Repeated attacks on foreign diplomatic centers in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi have made it very dangerous for non-locals to work and live there.
The worst attack on a foreign target was on Sept. 11, 2012, when the U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi.