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Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libya after video of mass killings

The airstrikes occurred hours after the release of a video purporting to show the mass killing of 21 Egyptians.

By Kate Stanton
Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libya after video of mass killings
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised to retaliate after an Islamic State affiliate in Libya released video of the killing of 21 Christians. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

CAIRO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Egypt said Monday that it carried out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya, after the militant group released video of the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

Egyptian military officials said in a statement on state radio that the airstrikes, which targeted IS training camps and weapons storage sites, were "to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers."

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"Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them," the statement read.

Video footage released Sunday purportedly showed the mass killing of Coptic Christian workers from Egypt, who were kidnapped in Sirte, Libya, in December and January. In the video, men in orange jumpsuits are led along a beach and beheaded one at a time by a masked militant.

In a state television address, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the country would "respond in a fitting time and manner from these murderers."

"Egypt is not only defending itself, but all of humanity," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry after the release of the video to offer "condolences on behalf of the American people" and "strongly condemn the despicable act of terror."

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The 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi dramatically destabilized Libya, which has an internationally recognized government in the northeastern city of Tobruk and a rival authority supported by Islamist militias in Tripoli.

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