Monday, February 16, 2015
Egypt bombs IS in Libya after beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts
Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State (IS) are marched by armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from a video that appeared on February 15, 2015.
Egypt's air force bombed Islamic State targets inside Libya on Monday, a day after the group released a video appearing to show the beheading of 21 Egyptians there. The military said the dawn strike, in which Libya's air force also participated, hit Islamic State camps, training sites and weapons storage areas in Libya, where a civil conflict has plunged the country into near anarchy.
The 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, who had gone to Libya in search of jobs, were marched to a beach, forced to kneel and then beheaded, according to the video, broadcast via a website that supports Islamic State.
In a phone call to Al Arabiya television, Brigadier Saqer al-Joroushi, the commander of the air force loyal to Libya's official government, said Libya had coordinated and joined Egypt in the strikes in the eastern city of Derna. "More air strikes will be carried out today and tomorrow in coordination with Egypt," Joroushi said.
Egypt has not taken part directly in the U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, focusing instead on the increasingly complex insurgency within its own borders.
Thousands of Egyptians desperate for work have traveled to Libya since an uprising at home in 2011, despite the government's advice not to go to a state sliding into chaos. A number of Islamist militant groups have been active since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 left Libya without a strong central government. A few have declared ties to the radical Islamic State and claimed high-profile attacks over recent weeks in what appears to be an intensifying campaign.