Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed revenge for the execution of 21 of its Coptic Christian citizens at the hands of ISIS, and it didn’t take long for the military to follow through.
The airstrikes against ISIS’s weapons caches, training grounds, and camps in Libya, meant to “avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers,” were announced on state radio Monday.
“Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield to protect and safeguard the security of the country and a sword that amputates terrorism and extremism,” the statement continued.
A five-minute propaganda video of the execution of the men was released on Sunday. In it, the Coptic Christians from Egypt are paraded onto a beach, each accompanied by a masked jihadist. They are then forced to kneel as one jihadist addresses the camera in English.
“All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together,” he says. “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”
The Egyptians are then forced to lay face-down in the sand and are simultaneously beheaded, at which point the same jihadist speaker points to the sea and says “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.”
Executioner: "The sea you have hidden Osama bin Laden's body in, we will mix it with your blood" pic.twitter.com/fi82Pt5xol— Conflict News (@rConflictNews) February 15, 2015
The men were not in Libya to fight the Islamic jihadists. Rather, they were in the country to make a living when they were kidnapped in two separate incidents in December and January from the city of Sirte.
Libya’s air force also carried out its own airstrikes in the eastern city of Darna, which an ISIS affiliate took over last year.
"There are casualties among individuals, ammunition and the (Islamic State) communication centers," Libyan air force commander Saqer al-Joroushi told Egyptian state television, reports Reuters. He also said roughly 40 to 50 militants were killed.
"More air strikes will be carried out today and tomorrow in coordination with Egypt," he added.
Update: According to the Associated Press, Egypt has already carried out a second wave of airstrikes in Darna.