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Islamic State Beheads 21 Egyptians Kidnapped in Libya

The Obama administration asked Congress not to limit the scope of the fight against the Islamic State. A newly released brutal video out of Libya illustrates why. On Sunday, the Islamic State released a five-minute video showing the executions of 21 Egyptian Christian hostages who were kidnapped  last month from the coastal town of Sirte ...

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The Obama administration asked Congress not to limit the scope of the fight against the Islamic State. A newly released brutal video out of Libya illustrates why.

On Sunday, the Islamic State released a five-minute video showing the executions of 21 Egyptian Christian hostages who were kidnapped  last month from the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya. The video shows militants dressed in black while standing on a beach, forcing  prisoners wearing orange  jumpsuits down to their knees. One says, “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for,” before killing each prisoner. A caption, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” runs of the duration of the video.

On Friday, in the Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq, the militants released the first pictures of  the hostages, all of whom are Coptic Christians.

According to a report in Sunday’s New York Times, three groups in Libya —  Barqa in the country’s east, Tripolitania in the west, and Fezzan in the south — have claimed affiliation with the Islamic State. Two rival governments continue to fight for power four years after NATO airstrikes enabled the removal of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the absence of a strong central authority has allowed these group to flourish.

The video is arguably the most high profile — and most brutal — shows of force by militants there. Prior to Sunday, the Islamic State’s most high-profile in Libya was an attack on a hotel in Tripoli last month which left nine dead.

Speaking on Egyptian television Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed to take “necessary means and timing to avenge the criminal killings.”

This post has been updated. 

Photo Credit: Tauseef Mustafa

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