World

Egypt warplanes strike IS targets in Libya after video of mass killing of Christian hostages

  • In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, Ibtassal Lami, mother of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya more than a month ago, holds his picture as she weeps at their home in the village of el-Aour near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, Ibtassal Lami, mother of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya more than a month ago, holds his picture as she weeps at their home in the village of el-Aour near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, family relatives of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya more than a month ago, weep outside their home in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, family relatives of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya more than a month ago, weep outside their home in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, family relatives of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya, more than a month ago, weep outside their home in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    In this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 photo, family relatives of abducted Coptic Christian Samuel Walham, one of 21 Coptic Egyptian men seized by Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, Libya, more than a month ago, weep outside their home in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt has launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya after the extremist group released a grisly video showing the beheading of several Coptic Christians it had held hostage for weeks.

A spokesman for the Armed Forces General Command announced the strikes on state radio Monday, marking the first time Cairo has publicly acknowledged taking military action in neighboring Libya, which has been beset by militia violence for months.

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.