The Islamic State, or ISIS, posted a video Sunday showing the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
According to Reuters, the Christians were kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants are seen marching with the captives to a beach. The captives were then forced down before they were beheaded. “They supplicate what they worship and die upon their paganism,” the Islamic State militant says. “The sea you threw in Osama Bin Laden’s body … we’ll mix it with your blood,” he is also heard saying.
Photos that were being circulated on Twitter show the captives dressed in orange jumpsuits lined up behind masked men. They were first circulated by Radio Sawa journalist Zaid Benjamin. One of the masked men–the only one who isn’t wearing all-black– says in the video that “the people of the cross, the followers of the hostile Egyptian Church,” referring to the prisoners, will be killed.
Toward the end of the video, the militants are seen beheading the men before it switches over to a shot of what appears to be blood in the water. The militant who was speaking in the video is then seen pointing his life upward.
The creators of the video said they are the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State group, reports say. Militants who are affiliated with the group had been holding 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians hostage for several weeks.
After the video was released, Egypian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for urgent security talks. He also called for seven days of mourning for the workers.
President Sisi said earlier in the week that he would airlift Egyptian expatriates out of Libya. The 21 kidnapped Egyptian workers, who are all Coptic Christians, were taken from the coastal town of Sirte, located in eastern Libya. The town was taken over by Islamist Militants.
The Islamic State released photos of the Coptic Christians, and said they were kidnapped to avenge Muslim women who were “tortured and murdered by the Coptic church of Egypt,” reported the BBC.
The government of Egypt warned people to not travel to Libya, which has been left unstable since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. However, many still go there to look for work.
A few days ago, Islamic State fighters led a suicide attack on an air base where U.S. and coalition troops are training Iraqi forces after taking a nearby town, the first territorial gain by the militant group in months, the Pentagon said Friday.
Most of the Islamic State fighters died in the attack, killed either by Iraqi government forces or by detonating their suicide vests, said Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman.
Kirby said an estimated 20-25 Islamic State militants were involved in the attack on al-Asad air base in Iraq’s Anbar province. He said the attack was led by “at least several” suicide bombers, some of whom managed to detonate their bombs and others were killed by Iraqi troops.
“Early indications are that yes, some of them did detonate their vests, detonate themselves,” he said. “And then they were followed by roughly something on the order of 15 or so other fighters.”
It appeared that most, if not all, of the militants were wearing Iraqi uniforms, Kirby said.
No Iraqi or U.S. troops were killed or wounded, Kirby said, and no US troops were involved in the gunfight.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.