In a new propaganda video released Sunday by ISIS, the group claims to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.
The video shows an apparent mass execution with jihadists in black standing behind each of the victims, who are all are dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed behind them.
The five-minute video, released by the terror group’s propaganda wing al-Hayat Media, includes a masked English-speaking jihadi who says, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”
Then on cue, all the victims are pushed to the ground and beheaded.
Local media reports said the Libyan parliament confirmed Saturday the death of 21 kidnapped Egyptian Coptic Christian workers in Libya, after photos released by ISIS’ English-language magazine Dabiq claimed their execution.
On Friday, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said the fate of the 21 workers remained unknown, but the authorities were doing their best to communicate with all parties in Libya.
The Egyptian government has yet to confirm the killings.
In Egypt, Bishop Anba Ermia, president of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center, posted on Facebook the names of what he described as “martyrs” — an apparent reference to the Coptic Christians beheaded.
Coptic Christians are part of the Orthodox Christian tradition, one of three main traditions under the Christian umbrella, alongside Catholicism and Protestantism. Copts split from other Christians in the fifth century over the definition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Copts trace their history to the Apostle Mark, the New Testament figure who they say introduced Christianity to Egypt in A.D. 43. Egypt holds a special place for Coptic Christians because, according to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ family fled there shortly after his birth to escape King Herod, who was calling for the execution of all Jewish boys younger than 2.
The largest group of Copts in the world is still in Egypt, where they make up between 8% and 11% of the nation’s 80 million citizens, most of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In the United States, there are approximately 90,000 Copts organized under 170 parishes, according to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States.