Egypt has bombed a number of Islamic State (IS) targets across Libya in response to the release of a video showing the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by members of the Islamist group.
Egyptian state television said that dawn air raids had targeted IS training camps and weapons storage facilities, with a second round of strikes reported hours later.
The Egyptian military said:
“Avenging Egyptian blood and punishing criminals and murderers is our right and duty”
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry released videos of the air strikes and said that they targeted IS locations in Derna, the Islamist group’s stronghold in the country. It said:
“Leaving the situation as it is in Libya without a firm intervention to curtail these terrorist organizations would be a threat to international peace and security.”
The beheading of Egyptian civilians in the video has been condemned around the world.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council deplored the targeting of persons based on religious affiliation, calling the act “heinous and cowardly”.
In a statement, the UN Security Council said:
“This crime once again demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, which is responsible for thousands of crimes and abuses against people from all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities, and without regard to any basic value of humanity”
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“The murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians is a cruel & barbaric act. We will not waver in our fight against terrorists and extremism”
In a statement, the White House said:
“We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens. ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity. This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL.”