By By Ahmed Tolba and Michael Georgy | Reuters
CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State released a video on Sunday that appeared to show the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that his country would respond to the deaths as it saw fit.
Speaking on national television hours after the release of the video, Sisi said Cairo would choose the “necessary means and timing to avenge the criminal killings”.
Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead.
The beheadings could stiffen Sisi’s resolve in dealing with security threats from militants thriving in neighboring Libya’s chaos who want to topple his U.S.-backed government.
Egypt has denied reports in the past that it had taken part, along with its close ally the United Arab Emirates, in air strikes against militants based in Libya.
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SISI warns ISIS “Cairo will avenge the be-headings of 21 Egyptian Christian Copts”