A video released online by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Sunday appears to show the killing of two different groups of captured Ethiopian Christians by ISIL’s Libyan affiliates.
The 29-minute video purports to show fighters holding two groups of captives. It says one group is held by an ISIL affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barka Province and the other by an affiliate in the south calling itself the Fazzan Province.
A masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran.
The video then switches between footage of the captives in the south being shot dead and the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach.
It was not immediately clear who the captives were or when they were captured. It was also not clear how many captives were killed.
The video bore the official logo of the ISIL media arm Al-Furqan and resembled previous videos released by the group, including one in February in which ISIL fighters in Libya beheaded 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a beach.
ISIL has been able to gain a foothold amid the chaos in Libya, where two governments backed by rival alliances of militias are battling each other as well as radical groups.
ISIL is also advancing in Iraq, where its fighters captured three villages near the city of Ramadi in the western Anbar province and were locked in heavy clashes with Iraqi troops.
More than 90,000 people have fled the group’s advance in Anbar, a United Nations humanitarian agency said Sunday.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that civilians are fleeing Ramadi as well as the three nearby villages captured by ISIL a few days ago. It said humanitarian agencies have moved quickly to provide assistance, including food, water and shelter.
"Our top priority is delivering life-saving assistance to people who are fleeing — food, water and shelter are highest on the list of priorities," said Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.
Grande expressed concern over the safety of the displaced people, who are mainly heading to Baghdad and the ISIL-held city of Fallujah.
"Seeing people carrying what little they can and rushing for safety is heart-breaking," she said.
Iraqi officials in Anbar have described Ramadi as a ghost town, with empty streets and closed shops.
Iraqi troops backed by Shia militias and U.S.-led airstrikes managed to dislodge ISIL from the northern city of Tikrit earlier this month.
But the troops have struggled against the radicals in Anbar, which saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year U.S. military intervention that ended in 2011.
The Associated Press