Followers of the Islamic State and its self-declared caliph Abu Bakr Baghdadi simultaneously murdered 21 Egyptian Christians in a videotape released today, removing whatever doubt remained that the Sunni jihadi group has established a strong presence in Libya.
The text and video were targeted at terrorizing a Western audience as much as Arab speakers, with captions in both Arabic and English and a masked speaker who issued his threats in fluent English. The style of the video is very much like the last IS snuff movie, involving the burning to death of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh in a cage in Syria.
Like the murder of Lt. Kassasbeh, this was a high definition video exhibiting significant post-production editing, including jump cuts and other editing techniques stolen from Hollywood slasher flicks. This mass murder was if anything, more horrific. Unlike Kassasbeh, a Jordanian pilot whose F-16 crashed in Syria, the victims this time weren’t fighting the group. They were simply Egyptian Coptic Christians trying to make a living in Libya, kidnapped in early January and eventually murdered due to their faith alone.