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Retaliating For Killings, Egypt Launches Airstrikes Against ISIS In Libya

A man mourns for the Egyptian Coptic Christians killed by the Islamic State, outside the Virgin Mary church in el-Aour, south of Cairo, on Monday.
Hassan Ammar
/
AP
A man mourns for the Egyptian Coptic Christians killed by the Islamic State, outside the Virgin Mary church in el-Aour, south of Cairo, on Monday.

Retaliating for the mass killing of 21 of its Christian citizens, Egypt launched airstrikes against the self-declared Islamic State in Libya.

Al Arabiya reports:

" 'Your armed forces on Monday carried out focused air strikes in Libya against Daesh camps, places of gathering and training, and weapons depots,' the military said in a statement, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"It was the first time Egypt confirmed launching air strikes against the group in neighboring Libya, suggesting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is ready to escalate his battle against militants seeking to topple his government.

"The military said the dawn strike, in which Libya's air force also participated, 'achieved its targets accurately' and the pilots returned to base safely, the Egyptian military said, as state television ran brief footage of a fighter plane taking off in darkness."

Yesterday, the Sunni militants released a video that purported to show the beheading of 21 Egyptians. ISIS had previously released photos of the Coptic Christians that it kidnapped in December and January. Egypt had offered to evacuate thousands of its citizens in Libya.

The Guardian reports that a spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces General Command said the strikes in Libya were "to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers."

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

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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