Egypt says it has launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya after the extremist group released a grisly video showing the beheadings of several Coptic Christians it had held hostage for weeks. A spokesman for the Armed Forces General Command announced the strikes on state radio today, marking the first time Cairo has publicly acknowledged taking military action in neighboring Libya, where extremist groups seen as a threat to both countries have taken root in recent years.
The statement said the warplanes targeted weapons caches and training camps before returning safely. It said the strikes were "to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers." "Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them," it said. The militants had been holding 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian laborers rounded up from the Libyan city of Sirte in December and January. It was not clear from the video whether all 21 hostages were killed. Libya's air force, meanwhile, announced it had launched strikes in the eastern city of Darna, which was taken over by an ISIS affiliate last year. (Read more Libya stories.)