IS in Libya says it has beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians
16 February 2015, Nirapad News: The Islamic State group in Libya released a video on Sunday purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, prompting Egypt’s president to ensue a “suitable” punishment for the killings.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country reserved the right to “punish these murderers” as he called a meeting of security chiefs and declared seven days of mourning after the video was distributed by Jihadists on social media. The footage shows 21 handcuffed hostages wearing orange jumpsuits being beheaded by their black-suited captors on a beach, the group said was in the Libyan province of Tripoli.
Later, state television reported that Egypt’s military had bombed ISIL targets in Libya at dawn on Monday.
In the latest issue of the IS online magazine Dabiq, the group had said the same number of Egyptian hostages were being held in Libya. The Coptic Church issued a statement saying it was “confident” the killers would be brought to justice as it confirmed those beheaded were Egyptian Copts.
Al-Azhar, the prestigious Cairo-based seat of Islamic learning, denounced the “barbaric” killings and stressed that such barbaric action has nothing to do with any religion or human values.
Egyptian state television broadcast some of the footage from the IS video without showing the beheading but depicting the hostages marched along by their captors on a beach. “Egypt reserves the right to respond in a suitable way and time to punish these murderers,” a visibly angry Sisi said in a televised speech. The security body that is meeting in Cairo includes Sisi, his defence and interior ministers and military commanders.
Egypt last year denied reports of having carried out air strikes on Islamists in Libya, but US officials said its ally the United Arab Emirates carried out the strikes using Egyptian bases.
French President Francois Hollande, whose government is poised to sign a deal selling Egypt advanced Rafale fighter jets on Monday, expressed his “concern at the expansion of Daesh in Libya,” referring to the Islamic State group. The group has been hammered by US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria after it took over swathes of the two countries, and has active affiliates in Egypt and Libya.
Libya’s embattled parliament, which is locked in a conflict with Islamist militias, expressed its condolences in a statement and called on the world to “show solidarity with Libya” against militants.
The UN’s mission in Libya called for the group’s actions to be “rejected and denounced by all Libyans”.