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Published On: Mon, Feb 16th, 2015

Egypt attack Libya after Islamic State murders Coptic Christians in video

Islamic State released a video on Sunday to show the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that his country would respond to the deaths as it saw fit.

Speaking on national television hours after the release of the video, Sisi 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.

photo/Islamic State flag

photo/Islamic State flag

A spokesman for the Armed Forces General Command announced airstrikes on state radio Monday, marking the first time Cairo had publicly acknowledged taking military action in neighboring Libya.

The video, which appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State (ISIS), depicts several men in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant. The men are made to kneel and one militant, dressed differently than the others, addresses the camera in North American-accented English.

“All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together,” he said. “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Usama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

The men are then laid face-down and simultaneously beheaded.

In a statement released Sunday evening, White House press secretary Josh Earnest condemned the purported killing as “despicable” and “cowardly,” adding that the group’s barbarity “knows no bounds.” The White House statement did not refer to the hostages as Christians, but only as “Egyptian citizens” and “innocents.”

“ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds,” said Earnest, using another acronym for the terror group. “It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity. … This heinous act once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya, the continuation of which only benefits terrorist groups, including ISIL. We call on all Libyans to strongly reject this and all acts of terrorism and to unite in the face of this shared and growing threat.”

Mina Thabet, a researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, who has been communicating regularly with the families of the hostages, said he believed that all but one of the victims in the video were Egyptians.

Thabet blamed the Egyptian government for what he asserted was a delayed response to the hostage crisis. “There is blood on the hands of the authorities who could have saved them but failed to.”

In the weeks between the abduction and the release of the video, the families of the kidnapped Egyptians criticised what they saw as an inadequate response to the kidnapping.

The men’s families complained that Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs did not immediately respond to their inquiries. One relative said the ministry had advised the families not to speak to the media.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz calls for ‘ground troops’ against ISIS - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Sunday, ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt and in the clip below, Schultz is shaken by the […]

  2. Chris Matthews: US ‘humiliated’ by ISIS, State Dept ‘cannot win by killing them,’ points to jobs - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] ISIS beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians prompted Chris Matthews to state Monday night that the United States is being “morally […]

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