ISIS militants released a video in February 2015. That video was titled as A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross. In this video the act of beheading of the men on a Libyan beach is shown. The death sentence will now be reviewed by Egypt’s mufti.
Most of them who were beheaded were members of Egypt’s minority or Christian community. An affiliate of Islamic State which is also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, in North Sinai started an active revolt after the Egypt military expelled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
There were ten other individuals who were given life sentences (convicted persons are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural life or until paroled) for joining a terrorist group which links to the Islamic State. Three others criminals were sentenced to 15 years in prison while thirteen are on trial in the same case.
The seven were accused of being members of an Islamic State cell in Marsa Matruh (a sea port in Egypt) and of planning attacks after having received military training at jihadist camps in Libya and Syria. Three of them were sentenced to death in absentia.
More than 100 Egyptian Copts have died since December 2016 in several church bombings carried out by ISIS terrorists. More than 300 people, mostly Muslims, were killed when terrorists opened fire on a mosque in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt’s tiny Christian minority, which makes up about 10 percent of the population, has repeatedly been targeted by various Islamic groups. Despite the horrific actions of the jihadists, the minority Coptic community in Egypt was encouraged by the example the 21 men set in the video in their refusal to deny Christ.
As International Christian Concern reported at the two years anniversary of the beheading in February, relatives of the men, who were kidnapped in separate incidents in Libya throughout December 2014 and January 2015, have been honoring the memories of their loved ones.
A Coptic Christian said, “We know it is more likely we will die than live in Libya but we don’t have a choice. More and more people are going to Libya because of the economic crisis here. You can’t get work, you can’t make money in Egypt. We are aware of the dangers, particularly as Christians.”
In July, at least 22 Egyptian migrants were found dead in the Libyan wilderness. According to the Libyan Red Crescent, they died from heat and starvation.
A Libya intelligence report estimates that about 700 IS terrorists have regrouped in the valleys and desert areas south of the city of Bani Walid in Libya, and another 3,000 terrorist fighters from different groups, including al-Qaeda, are operating in the country.