|Marcel Woo |||Feb 16, 2015 04:11 AM EST|
Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State (IS) kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on February 15, 2015. REUTERS
To avenge the deaths of 21 Egyptians, who were mercilessly beheaded by Islamic State militants, the Egyptian government confirmed it has bombed ISIS targets in Libya on Monday.
For the first time since the ISIS crisis, Egypt has confirmed it has launched air strikes against the group in the neighboring Libyan country.
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The bombings hit Islamic State camps, training sites and weapons storage areas in Libya, said Egypt's military. The move, analysts said, suggest that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is ready to level up his battle against the militants.
"The strike 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.
Egypt was not alone in Monday's airstrike. According to Brigadier Saqer al-Joroushi, the commander of the air force loyal to Libya's official government, Libya had coordinated and joined Egypt in the strikes in the eastern city of Derna.
"More air strikes will be carried out today and tomorrow in coordination with Egypt," Joroushi said.
The attacks came after 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded by a group that claimed to be ISIS.
The 21 Egyptians were looking for job in Libya but were instead captured by ISIS militants. In a video broadcast via a website that supports the ISIS, the Egyptians were seen marching to a beach and where then forced to kneel before they were beheaded.
The footage of the beheadings appeared on the Twitter page of a group that supports the ISIS.
It had a superimposed graphics showing the location, "Wilayat Tarabulus by the Mediterranean Sea," an indication it was filmed near Tripoli.
The five-minute video also had a caption that reads, "The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church."
Moments before the beheading, one of the masked militants appeared with a knife and said, "Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for."
Egypt's state media reported a spokesman for the Coptic Church had confirmed the killings.
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