Another mass execution of Egyptian Christians by Isis is feared to be imminent after Islamists are said to have rounded up ‘dozens more’ in retaliation for air strikes

February 18, 2015 5:19 pm

At least 35 more Egyptian Christians are feared to have been
kidnapped by jihadists in retaliation for air strikes on targets in
Libya.
Militants from the Islamic State and Ansar Al-Sharia are
understood to have rounded up dozens of farm workers in the wake of
bombings by Cairo, it was reported by local media.

Another mass execution of Egyptian Christians by is feared to be
imminent after Islamists are said to have rounded up ‘dozens more’ in
retaliation for air strikes.

The move is
believed to be a direct response to strikes by Egyptian warplanes
yesterday, which came after fanatics released a horrific video showing
the beheading of 21 Christians on a beach.

Feb. 16, 2015 file video image from aerial footage released by the Egyptian Defense Ministry, shows an airstrike on Islamic State group positions, in Libya. Photo / AP
Feb. 16, 2015 file video image from aerial
footage released by the Egyptian Defense Ministry, shows an airstrike on
Islamic State group positions, in Libya. Photo / AP
It raises the chilling prospect of yet another mass
execution in what is being seen as Isis’s bid to announce its presence
in a new region where it is gaining influence.

Initial reports said seven men had been seized, but that
figure had risen to more than 35 by mid-afternoon yesterday, according
to The Libya Herald.
It came as blitzed Isis training
camps, weapons stockpiles and fighters in two waves of air strikes
following the gruesome murder of captured Egyptian workers.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government called for the US-led coalition to also target Isis in Libya.
The
bombing, Egypt’s first official military action in Libya since the
overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi four years ago, came after a day of
international outrage at the slickly produced ISIS video.
Lasting
five minutes, it shows a group of Coptic Christians dressed in
jumpsuits being marched one by one along a lonely beach, each held by a
fighter clad in black.
The men their, faces uncovered, are then made to kneel.
A
jihadist dressed in camouflage fatigues and speaking English with an
American accent declares: “All crusaders… the sea you have hidden
Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with
your blood.”
The men are then forced to lie face-down before they
are beheaded simultaneously. The camera zooms in on the water as it
turns red.
The US said the video showed the “wanton killing of innocents”.
Egyptian
state TV showed warplanes over Libya as the military declared they were
“avenging Egyptian blood and retaliating against criminals and
killers”.
Libyan officials said 40 fighters and two civilians had been killed.
The
country’s internationally recognised government, based in Tobruk, has
been confined to the far east of the country since militias seized the
capital Tripoli last year.

Egyptians light candles during a vigil for Christians who were killed in Libya, at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. Photo / AP
Egyptians light candles during a vigil for
Christians who were killed in Libya, at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo,
Egypt. Photo / AP
The militias condemned the air strikes as a violation of Libya’s sovereign territory.
But
Cairo called on the US-led coalition carrying out strikes over
and to broaden the scope of their operations to include Libya.
“Leaving
things in Libya as they are without decisive intervention to suppress
these terror groups constitutes a clear danger to international peace
and security,” the Egyptian foreign ministry warned.
French
president François Hollande called for the UN security council to meet
over Libya and to take new measures against the growing power of the
militants.
Italy has already said it is willing to lead a
coalition of European and North African countries to stop the ISIS
advance in Libya. Significantly, it did not rule out using ground
forces.
The video of the beheadings, posted online by Libyan
jihadists loyal to IS, is the first to come from outside the group’s
heartland of Syria and Iraq, raising fears it has established a new
foothold just 650km from Italy.
Pope Francis expressed “profound sadness” at the murders.
“They were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christians,” he said.
“Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!'”
Britain condemned the murders as “barbaric”.
The
Egyptian workers were seized in separate kidnappings in December and
January from the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya, under the
control of Islamist groups.
Libya, where wages are significantly
higher than in Egypt, is home to a large community of both Muslim and
Coptic Egyptians, with most working in the construction sector.

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