At least two dozen Ethiopian Christians appear to have been executed by the Islamic State group in Libya, a newly released video shows.
The footage posted on al-Menbar al-E’lamy al-Jihady, a website that reports jihadi news, shows two groups of captives. One was beheaded on a beach said to be in the Barqa region in eastern Libya. The others were shot at point blank range in an area said to be in the southwest. The video said the victims were Christians belonging to “the hostile Ethiopian Church.”
“Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” an armed masked man says in an American accent. “You will not have safety even in your dreams until you embrace Islam.”
Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Redwan Hussein said the victims’ nationalities haven’t been confirmed. “The government of Ethiopia condemns such hideous acts committed against humanity whether the victims were Ethiopians or not,” he said in a text message.
The video is similar to one released in February showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers from Egypt in Libya. Egypt said it retaliated by bombing Islamic State targets in the eastern Libyan city of Derna.
The U.S. condemned the murders.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal mass murder purportedly of Ethiopian Christians by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. “This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.”
Libya has seen its state collapse after more than four years of fighting following the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Two rival administrations claim legitimacy: an Islamist-backed government operating from Tripoli, and an internationally recognized one in the eastern city of Tobruk. Both governments have been attacked by the Islamic State branch in Libya.