Egyptian aircraft bombed several Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya Feb. 16 after the terrorist organization released a video depicting the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. A video of the strikes was made public by the Egyptian air force.
Libya has seen better days. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the state is struggling to maintain order throughout its territory. IS militants have control over Derna, a costal city in northeastern Libya, and that is where Egypt sent its retaliatory strike yesterday.
On Sunday, IS released a video of the executions, which took place in the city of Sirte. The Egyptians depicted in the video had been kidnapped in two separate incidents earlier this year.
Many have expressed their sadness and outrage at the latest execution including U.S. officials and Pope Francis.
Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, said Sunday that his country, “reserves the right of retaliation and with the methods and timing it sees fit for retribution for those murderers and criminals who are without the slightest humanity,” according to CNN. Egyptian air force officials told the BBC that there have been eight strikes against IS targets in Derna and more than forty people were killed.
Libya, The Washington Post reports, is also stepping up its game against IS. The Libyan air force conducted strikes against IS and plans to continue them today. These strikes have been in coordination with the Egyptian air force.
Surrounding countries are worried about what this flare-up of IS activity means for the region, and they treating the situation very carefully. Morocco has suspended all flights to and from Libya, Reuters reports, and is denying airspace to all Libyan aircraft.
Italy is considering military intervention to prevent IS from spreading. The Italian embassy in Libya was closed down yesterday, and all of its personnel were shipped home with, according to The Aviationist, a military drone escort.