This weekend, the Islamic State (ISIS) faction in Libya released a video showing the graphic execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Haaretz reports that in response, the Egyptian military has struck ISIS targets in Libya:
Egypt’s military said in a statement on state television that it had carried out an air strike against Islamic State targets in Libya at dawn on Monday, a day after the group released a video appearing to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians there.
The attack focused on Islamic State camps, training sites and weapons storage areas across Egypt’s border in Libya, where Islamist militants have thrived amid chaos. Libya’s air force commander said the country’s warplanes joined the Egyptian operation.
In the video released by Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi warned that his country would respond to the deaths as it saw fit. Speaking on national television hours after the release of the video, Sissi said Cairo would choose the “necessary means and timing to avenge the criminal killings”.
Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead.
The beheadings could stiffen Sissi’s resolve in dealing with security threats from militants thriving in neighbouring Libya’s chaos who want to topple his U.S.-backed government …
Sissi, who met with the country’s top military commanders to discuss the killings, called for a seven-day mourning period, state television reported.
The United States on Sunday condemned the “despicable and cowardly murder” of the 21 Egyptians.
“This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
The Coptic Church said it was confident the Egyptian government would seek justice.