Egypt Responds With Airstrikes to Beheading of 21 Coptic Christians

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Monday, February 16, 2015

Egypt Responds With Airstrikes to Beheading of 21 Coptic Christians

Egypt announced Monday that it would launch airstrikes against the Islamic State after the group released video footage of the beheading of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Monday, two rounds of Egyptian airstrikes hit targets in Darna, a Libyan city.

The Armed Forces General Command said Monday the strikes were “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers.”

“Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them,” the military said according to the Associated Press.

The announcement from Egypt comes just after ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts near a beach in Libya. The captives had been taken in late 2014 and January from the Libyan city of Sirte.

According to reports, one of the captives cried out “Lord Jesus” in Arabic before he was killed.

“These cowardly actions will not undermine our determination,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said Sunday. “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry asked that other countries join in against ISIS’ hold in Libya.

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said Italy was prepared to lead a coalition of countries to stop the militants.

The White House also released a statement early this week, saying that the video was “despicable and cowardly.”

“ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect or ethnicity,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, using the White House’s term for the Islamic State.

Libya currently has two rival governments, and because of the extremism, ISIS support has grown in the country.