The White House condemned Sunday a video purportedly showing the killing of some 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group. "That these terrorists killed these men solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists' vicious, senseless brutality,” National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. "This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.
The 29-minute propaganda video released earlier Sunday online by the group, also known as ISIS, showed two groups of captives being killed by masked militants, one by beheading and one by gunfire. A narrator identified the group of men as “adherents of the Ethiopian church,” with the first set of killings taking place in Libya’s Fezzan region and the second in the Barqa region of the country.
The slaughter mirrors a video released in February showing ISIS militants beheading captive Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya. The video prompted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to order airstrikes on suspected ISIS targets in the neighboring African state.
Ethiopia’s government has not yet indicated how it will respond to the killings and has not yet been able to verify whether the men shown on the video were its citizens. “Nonetheless, the Ethiopian government condemns the atrocious act,” government spokesman Redwan Hussein told Reuters, adding that the country would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave Libya.
While the Islamic State video did not specifically mention Ethiopia’s government, Addis Ababa has long drawn the anger of Islamic extremists over its participation in military attacks on the Islamist militant group al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia, the Associated Press said. The attack is the latest to widen the circle of countries affected by the Islamic State’s atrocities as the group continues to grow beyond its self-declared caliphate in areas of Syria and Iraq.