Egyptian warplanes pounded Islamic State targets in Libya after 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded by the extremist group.
Cairo moved unilaterally to avenge the deaths and President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi urged the United States-led coalition fighting the militants to expand its operations, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The early morning airstrikes took place just hours after Sisi said his country reserved the right to respond in any way it deemed fit to the killings.
The announcement came after Islamists in Libya released a video of the beheadings on Sunday.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will travel to Washington to participate in an anti-terrorism summit called by President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
“Leaving matters as they are in Libya without tough intervention to curb these terrorist organizations represents a clear threat to international security and peace,” the foreign ministry said.
The apparent slaughter of the Christians, members of the mostly Orthodox Coptic community in Egypt, marks Islamic State’s deadliest attack against foreigners outside the territory it currently controls in Syria and Iraq.
If the extremist group’s involvement is confirmed, the attack would reinforce indications that it has extended its reach westward from the Middle East.
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