The remains of 20 Coptic Christians from Egypt who were beheaded on a beach in Libya by ISIS in 2015 were flown back to Cairo. The Christians had sought work in Libya following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the ensuing civil war.
The terror group posted a gruesome video (see below) of the killings at the time, evoking end-times prophecies and Islamist theological arguments against Christianity. Titled A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross, the video stated the Christians were punished for being “followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” said to be a reference to the support by the Coptic Christians for Egyptian President El-Sisi’s fight against an ISIS affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula.
Warning: Extremely graphic
El-Sisi also banned the Muslim Brotherhood and repeatedly emphasized that the Islamic State and the Brotherhood are different manifestations of the same Islamist enemy.
The bodies of the Christian workers were recovered in October after ISIS was defeated in the Libyan city of Sirte. ISIS controlled Sirte from 2015 until the city was retaken by local forces backed by U.S. air strikes. A total of 21 people were beheaded in the incident — 20 Copts and one worker from Ghana whose body was not brought back to Egypt.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II received the remains which were brought in individual coffins aboard an aircraft in a ceremony broadcast on live TV in Egypt. The bodies are expected to be buried in Egypt’s Minya province.