Islamic State released a video on Sunday purporting to show the militant group beheading 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya.
In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded. The video appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State.
The video, titled “A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross,” has a scrolling caption in the first few seconds saying it is directed at “People of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian Church.”
Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for.”
Thousands of Egyptians have traveled to neighboring Libya in search of jobs since an uprising at home in 2011, despite advice from their government not to go to one of the most dangerous countries in the region.
In the latest issue of the IS online magazine Dabiq, the group said 21 Egyptian hostages were being held, and pictures showed a similar background.
Sunday’s video comes just days after IS released a video showing the gruesome burning alive of a Jordanian pilot it captured after his F-16 came down in Syria in December.
The highly choreographed video showing the killing of Maaz Al-Kassasbeh triggered global outrage. In January, the IS branch in Libya claimed it had abducted 21 Christians.
A spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed to AFP in Cairo that 20 Egyptians had been kidnapped in two separate incidents in neighboring Libya.
Badr Abdelatty did not say when they were seized or specify their religious affiliation, but said seven Egyptians and 13 others abducted separately in Libya “are still being detained” by their captors.