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'IS' video purportedly shows executions of Ethiopian Christians in Libya

A video released by "Islamic State" purportedly shows the executions of some 30 Ethiopian Christians, who were captured by the group in Libya. The jihadists recently gained a foothold in the conflict-marred country.

The online footage released on Sunday appeared to show the Islamist militants killing two groups of captives at two different locations - a group of 12 men beheaded on a beach and the other group of 16 people shot in the head in a desert area.

The slain men are identified as "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church" in the 29-minute video. The footage claims that one group was held by an "Islamic State" ("IS") affiliate in the country's eastern region, whereas the second group was held by another IS ally in southern Libya.

Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax as prescribed by the Koran, says a masked gunman in the video.

The authenticity of the video, which bears the logo of the IS media arm Al-Furqan, could not be immediately established. The Sunni militant group released a similar video in February, showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, mainly Egyptians, in Libya.

A number of Libyan Islamist groups have pledged allegiance to IS, which has seized control of large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

The extremist group has carried out widespread atrocities

, including the executions of several Western citizens and of large numbers of people belonging to religious minorities in the captured lands.

The jihadists, however, have only recently been able to get

a foothold in Libya amid protracted chaos and civil war

. Since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi's government in 2011, the North African country has plunged into a civil war, with rival groups setting up

two governments and two parliaments

, each backed by heavily armed former rebels.

Post-Gadhafi rulers have struggled to impose order, with much of the country paralyzed by political infighting and armed conflicts.

shs/kms (AFP, AP)

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