Sirte, Libya— The Islamic State in Libya released on Sunday a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were kidnapped in January by the IS group in the Libyan city of Sirte.
The footage released by IS online shows handcuffed hostages wearing orange jumpsuits being beheaded by their black-suited captors in a coastal area the group said was in the IS’s Libyan province of Tripoli.
The footage showing the deaths of the Egyptians appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State, which has seized parts of Iraq and Syria and has also beheaded Western hostages.
Last month, Islamic State claimed responsibility when at least two gunmen stormed into the five-star Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, killing nine people, including an American security contractor and a Frenchman.
The current internationally recognized Libyan government has always demanded that the international community provide support to the Libyan army which has been fighting terrorists and Al Qaeda affiliated militias without response without any response.
Top Libyan officials repeatedly warned western political and special envoys that appeasing outlawed militias and their terrorist allies as it has been the case for the last four years would lead the country into the abyss and its dire consequence such as those of Sunday would reach everywhere.
In the video, shot from several angles, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jumpsuits, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded.
A caption on the five-minute video read: “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.” Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for.”
One of the masked captors, wearing a military uniform and pointing a knife to the camera said in English: “Today we are in the south of Rome, in the land of Islam Libya… the sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”
Al-Qaeda founder Bin Laden was shot and killed in a dramatic helicopter raid by US special forces in Pakistan in the early hours of May 2, 2011, and later buried at sea in an unidentified location.
After the beheadings were shown on Sunday, a scrolling caption on the footage said: “The filthy blood is just some of what awaits you, in revenge for Camilia and her sisters.”
A background voice believed to be IS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani says: “We swear to Allah we will take revenge, even if it takes a while.”
Egyptian women Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine were the wives of Coptic priests whose alleged conversion sparked a sectarian dispute in Egypt in 2010.
Shehata went missing for five days in July that year after a domestic argument before police found her and escorted her back home.
When she went missing, Coptic Christians staged protests, but when she was returned, Islamists took to the streets alleging she had willingly converted to Islam and was being held by the church against her will.
Wafa Constantine also went missing, in 2004, reportedly after her husband refused to give her a divorce. She was temporarily sequestered at a convent as reports of her conversion were circulated. (agencies)
Via Tripoli Post