Monday, 16 1012ZFEB2015 | Egypt’s military announced Monday that it had launched retaliatory airstrikes against ISIS-affiliated Islamic terrorists in Libya after the release of a video showing the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages late Sunday, February 15th.
An Armed Forces General Command representative made a radio announcement early Monday morning to inform the public of the operation. This counts as the first time the Egyptian government has publicly acknowledged taking military action against terrorists within the borders of its neighbor Libya, a nation long known as a harbor for terrorist networks for decades.
The official statement said Egyptian military aircraft targeted weapons caches and training camps, but the purpose was more personal as the reaction was “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers.”
Previously, the Egyptian government declared a seven-day mourning period in respect of the brutal mass murder of the Christians. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told the nation that his government reserved the right to seek retaliation for the killings. He called the terrorists cowards, banned all travel to Libya for Egyptians, and announced to the world that Egypt will participate in the War Against Terrorism.
The video showing the brutal murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, for no other reason other than they were Christian, was released late Sunday by Islamic terrorists claiming direct affiliation with Islamic State Terrorists. The militants had been holding 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian laborers rounded up from the city of Sirte in December and January. While the video is currently being analyzed by western authorities for authenticity, Egyptian officials confirmed that all 21 individuals were indeed murdered.
An average of 350+ Christians are murdered worldwide daily simply for being Christian, placing them on the list as one of the world’s most persecuted demographics. Concerns rise now in Italy as the message in this video also hinted at Islamic conquering of Rome.
Washington made only a brief statement on the matter to offer words of condemnation for the terrorist acts, but has yet to say whether it will offer any meaningful support with action. The U.N. Security Council also followed Washington’s example in offering token words, stating that the act was cowardly.
Meanwhile, U.S. Congress recently approved ground force action against ISIS in Iraq. Now more than 4,000 U.S. troops are preparing to return to Kuwait in anticipation of once again stepping foot into Iraq.
The Army Times, the Associated Press, the Guardian, and Reuters contributed to information in this report.