Islamic State Video Shows Beheadings of Coptic Christians

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by David LermanZaid Sabah
A Islamic State black flag flies near the Syrian town of Kobani, Oct. 27, 2014 as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey. Photographer: Kutluhan Cucel/Getty Images
(Bloomberg) — A purported video by Islamic State fighters appears to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya, according to the Site Intelligence Group, which reports and analyzes terrorist threats.
The video, posted on social media Sunday, shows a line of men in orange jumpsuits walking along a beach, each accompanied by a masked man in black wielding a knife. The men are forced to kneel and then lie face down in the sand as they are decapitated.
If its authenticity is confirmed, the video would underscore the geographic spread of Islamic State, which declared a self-styled caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
A spokesman for the Christian Coptic Church in Egypt confirmed the identities of those who appeared slain in the video, according to the Middle East News Agency.
The video is entitled “A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross,” and later refers to “the followers of the hostile Egyptian Church.”
While based in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State “has looked to also take advantage of the chaos in Libya and establish a foothold there as well,” Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said at a Feb. 12 hearing of the Senate intelligence committee.
To contact the reporters on this story: David Lerman in Washington at; Zaid Sabah in Washington at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Walcott at Vince Golle, Bernard Kohn