The Islamic State (IS) released a video showing the beheading the 21 Egyptian Christians it kidnapped in Libya in January 2015. The video showed fighters beheading the prisoners in line on the beach and, after statements from the fighter, showed red-stained waves crashing into the beach.
The five-minute video was produced by IS' al-Hayat Media Foundation and appeared to show the same prisoners displayed in the seventh issue of Dabiq magazine.
Tripoli Province, an IS division in Libya, had claimed kidnapping the men and published three pictures of them on January 12.
"The Islamic State's Libyan provinces are today among the most important of its external operations," says SITE Director Rita Katz. "The division, which includes foreign fighters, has demonstrated a dangerous degree of violent ambition in the region."
The new video, entitled, "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross," showed a masked English-speaking fighter who did not sound or appear to be Jihadi John, the British IS excecutor from past beheading videos. The fighter stated:
O people, recently, you've seen us on the hills of as-Sham and Dabiq's plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time, filled with spite against Islam and Muslims. And today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.
Along with its title and allegedly Christian prisoners, the masked fighter made a reference to Jesus Christ along with a reference to the killing of Usama bin Laden:
Therefore, we will fight you all together, until the war lays down its burdens and Jesus, peace be upon him, will descend, breaking the cross, killing the swine, and abolishing jiyza [head tax]. And the sea you've hidden Sheikh Usama bin Laden's body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.
The Tripoli provincial division of IS was announced on November 10, 2014, along with two other provinces: Barqah (which includes Benghazi) and Fezzan. The audio message was released within the same 24 hour period as the pledges of four other groups. In the message, the group, identifying as "Mujahidin of Libya," stated of the IS-declared Caliphate:
This, until we saw in their group the dignity of Islam and the dignity of creation, and among them a caller answered the call of Allah. Those who responded to it were a gathering from the mujahid factions and battalions on the ground in Libya, in its three provinces Barqah, Fezzan, and Tripoli...
On January 27, 2015, the Tripoli provincial division of IS claimed an attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Libya.
"Since June, President Obama and Washington have promised to dismantle the Islamic State," said Katz. "However, the group has since grown tremendously outside of Iraq and Syria, spreading to Libya, Sinai, Yemen, and more."