CAIRO, EGYPT – Death in the Libyan desert is coming from the sky and from the shores of Tripoli. Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered air strikes on ISIS camps, training areas, and weapons depots in Libya after a group affiliated with ISIS released a video showing the beheading of what they claimed were 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.
The group calling itself “The Tripoli Province of Islamic State” used the video as a warning to Christians and Christian nations at war with ISIS. The Egyptian men had traveled to Libya to find work. ISIS rounded them up in December and January. Some of the men are heard crying out “Oh God” and “Oh Jesus” as their captors push them to the ground.
Last week, ISIS took screen shots from the video and published them in its English-language magazine.
Egypt’s strikes against ISIS in Libya are an extension of its war against Islamic State. Egypt has been fighting ISIS-allied militants in the Sinai Peninsula, where dozens of people died in a series of attacks last month.
Meantime, more than 4,000 US soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, are leaving for Kuwait where they will become the largest US ground force in the Middle East.
Members of the third brigade combat team will be the first soldiers called into battle if the Obama administration orders US ground action against ISIS.
Many of the soldiers have one or more tours in Iraq, so for them and for their families it’s a case of déjà vu, one more time.