Five kidnapped journalists killed by IS in Libya
Four Libyans and one Egyptian had been working for Barqa TV, a station supporting federalism for eastern Libya
A rally in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this month after more than 20 Ethiopian Christians were killed by Islamic State. Photograph: AFP Photo /Zacharias Abubeker
Islamic State militants have slit the throats of five journalists working for a Libyan TV station in the eastern part of the country, an army commander said on Monday.
The reporters had been missing since August, when they left the eastern city of Tobruk after covering the inauguration of the country’s parliament to travel to Benghazi. Their route took them through Derna, a militant Islamist hotspot.
Faraj al-Barassi, a district army commander in eastern Libya, said militants loyal to IS were responsible for killing the journalists, whose bodies were found outside the eastern city of Bayda.
“Five bodies with slit throats were found today in the Green Mountain forests,” Barrasi told Reuters, referring to a sparsely populated area east of Benghazi. He did not say when the journalists were believed to have been killed.
The reporters, four Libyans and one Egyptian, had been working for Barqa TV, an eastern television station supporting federalism for eastern Libya, other journalists said.
In Brussels, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the reporters had been kidnapped at an IS checkpoint and were killed recently.
“We are deeply shocked by this brutal slaughter,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha. “IS aims to horrify, but we can only feel great sorrow and further resolve to see the killers held responsible for their crimes.”
Militants loyal to IS have exploited a security vacuum in Libya, where two governments and parliaments allied to a host of armed groups are fighting each other on several fronts four years after the ousting of Col Muammar Gadafy.
The internationally recognised government has been based in the east since August, when it lost control of Tripoli.Libya’s elected parliament has also been based in the east since its inauguration.
Islamic State, the group which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, has claimed responsibility for killing 30 Ethiopian and 21 Egyptian Christians, as well as an attack on a Tripoli hotel, embassies and oilfields.
Two people were killed and seven wounded in Benghazi on Monday when rockets hit residential buildings, said Fadhl al-Hassi, an army commander.