Islamic State terrorists in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the group showed Sunday. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group’s atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan’s president blamed the group for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people — and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
It also mirrored a film released in February showing terrorists beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group’s suspected positions in Libya. Whether Ethiopia would — or could — respond with similar military force remains unclear.
Ethiopia long has drawn the anger of Islamic extremists over its military’s attacks on neighboring Somalia, whose population is almost entirely Muslim. The video, released via terrorist social media accounts and websites, could not be independently verified by The Associated Press. However, it corresponded to other videos released by the Islamic State group and bore the symbol of its al-Furqan media arm.
In Ethiopia, government spokesman Redwan Hussein said officials were in contact with its embassy in Cairo to verify the video’s authenticity. Hussein said he believed those killed likely were Ethiopian migrants hoping to reach Europe.