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2 Serbian Embassy Staffers Abducted in Libya Killed in U.S. Air Strikes: Officials
   2016-02-21 08:45:13    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xie Cheng

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic gestures during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on February 20, 2016. [Photo: Imagine China]

Serbian officials have confirmed the death of two of the country's embassy staffers held hostage in Libya since November.

Communications officer Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic, a driver, were among 49 people killed in U.S. air strikes on a suspected Islamic State group camp in the city of Sabratha.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said his country had been close to securing their release.

"This is the first major hostage crisis that the Republic of Serbia has faced, our state security acted very professionally, very seriously. If they had not been killed in allied... meaning US bombing, our people would have been freed, as we have said so many times before."

Ivica Dacic, Serbian Foreign Minister, said the two deceased will be honored after their bodies are transported to Serbia on Monday.

"I have informed the families, members of the families we were in contact with, and the prime minister has also spoken to them. The transfer of their bodies to Serbia will be organized in the coming days, their funeral in Serbia and a commemoration ceremony at the Foreign Ministry."

He added that Serbian authorities will be seeking official explanation from both Libya and the U.S. about the available facts and the selection of targets.

The 2 hostages were snatched after their diplomatic convoy, including the ambassador, came under fire near Sabratha.

Vucic announced that he will propose the closure of the Serbian embassy in Tripoli.

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