Libya: Coptic Christians abducted by ISIS?

Claims of an active Libyan branch of the ISIS franchise are given grim credence by photos circulating on social media purporting to show abducted Coptic Christians in the charactersitic pose of ISIS captives—kneeling in orange jump-suits as black-clad masked me stand over them menacingly. Text says they will be punished (presumably executed) as "revenge for the Muslims persecuted by the Coptic Crusaders of Egypt." A total of 21 Copts, all migrant laborers from Egypt, were abducted in the Libyan city of Sirte on in two incidents Dec. 31 and Jan. 3. Egypt's Foreign Ministry is investigating the authenticity of the photos, and has organized an emergency evacuation of Egyptian nationals from Libya. The anti-terrorist Quilliam Foundation is meanwhile claiming that ISIS has seized control of a radio station in Sirte. (Al ArabiyaNewsweek, Feb. 13; Egyptian Streets, Feb. 12)

  1. Libyan ISIS releases execution video

    A video released in the ISIS-linked online magazine Dabiq purports to show the beheading of the 21 captive Copts in Libya—prompting Egypt's president to threaten a "suitable" punishment for the killings. (AFP) The makers of the video identify themselves as the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State. (Mashable)

  2. Egypt bombs Libya —again

    After having more than once last year apparently bombed targets in Libya without taking public responibility for it, Egypt has now done so openly. Hours after the new beheading video was released, Egypt announced it has carried out air-strikes on ISIS targets in Libya, including camps, training sites and weapons storage areas. The locations of the targets were not named. Egypt's military said the strikes were "to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution [sic] from the killers." (BBC News)

    Photos posted on Twitter indicate the strikes were on Derna, which is actually in the government controlled east of the country, not the western half under the rule of Islamist-led rebels. Sirte, where the abductions took place, is in the rebel-controlled west.

  3. ISIS attack kills 40 in Libya

    A bombing by presumed ISIS militants in Libya killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens in the eastern town of al-Qubbah. Three bombs exploded, targeting a petrol station, a police station and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah, a security source told BBC News. According to an online statement, ISIS fighters said they struck in retaliation for Egyptian air strikes.