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Pope Francis expressed ‘profound sadness’ over the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by Islamic militants in Libya, saying they had been killed for their faith.

“They were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christians,” Francis said in unscheduled remarks in his native Spanish following a meeting with John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

“The blood of our Christian sisters and brothers is testimony that cries out (to us),” the pontiff added.

“Be they Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, Lutherans, it does not matter. They are Christians, their blood is the same, their blood confesses (their faith in) Christ.”

“Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians.”

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