- The video shows fleet of Toyota pickup trucks carrying Islamic State flags
- Men, women and children cheer as the cars drive through city of Benghazi
- Uploaded by extremist group Ansar al-Sharia who want Sharia law in Libya
- The terror group pledged its allegiance to Islamic State in October last year
- Linked to public and bloody executions of 21 Egyptian Christians this week
The video appears to show a fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying the notorious black flag of Islamic State as they drive in perfect unison through the streets of Libya.
Men, women and children cheer and salute the pick-up trucks as they drive freely through what is believed to be the city of Benghazi.
The carefully produced propaganda video was uploaded by terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia on February 5.
The group declared city an ‘Islamic emirate’ in July 2014 before pledging allegiance to Islamic State just three months later. In November of that year, the UN blacklisted it as a terrorist organisation.
The group was widely blamed for the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stephens in Benghazi in 2012. And only this week, it was linked to the bloody executions of 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach in Libya.
Fears of an equally brutal execution were raised following the news that 35 more Egyptians may have been kidnapped by Jihadists in the country.
The latest abduction is thought to be a direct response to Egyptian airstrikes on extremist locations in the Libyan city of Derna, following the mass murder of their countrymen.
The Islamic Youth Shura Council – a branch of Ansar Al-Sharia – was responsible for the very first footage of a beheading to surface from the North-African country.
In November 2014, it released footage showing the murder of an Egyptian soldier who publicly supported his government’s forces led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Masked men in camouflage cut Muftah el-Nazihi’s neck with a knife before removing his head and placing it on his back.
The group has been enforcing Sharia Law by carrying out public beheadings and beatings in Libya since their formation in at least August 2014.
Power exorcised by radical groups like the Islamic Youth Shura Council continued to grow until February this year when the Islamic State of Levant self-declared ‘caliphate’ in Sirte – where 21 Egyptians were believed to be beheaded recently.
Its fighters traveled to the district in 40 heavily armoured cars and ordered residents to follow Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
He has since appointed Ali Al-Qarqaa as Libya’s Emir- or leader – meaning control over the country’s fractured terror groups falls to him according to Gulf-based analyst Dr Theodore Karasik.
He told MailOnline: ‘Libya is seen by North Africans now as the place to go spread the Caliphate. Unlike a few years ago, when everyone was leaving Libya to go to the Levant, you now have people going back.
‘Because the idea of ‘state’ is there and now with the executions, they will feel like there are enough numbers on the ground to fight. They know at the same time the West is slow at acting.’
Three years after the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as the country’s ruler, Libya’s main cities have surrendered control to a melting pot of extremist groups.
Most of them – including Ansar al-Sharia, Libya Dawn and the Islamic Youth Shura Council – have pledged their allegiance to Islamic State who seek to use the country’s location to establish a foothold in North Africa.
The internationally recognised government and parliament have since fled to Tobruk, near the Egyptian border.
ISIS exploited the gaps between the democratically elected Libyan government in Torbruk and the Islamist-led General National Congress in the capital Tripoli.
Their joint failure to stop the spread of Islamic State has allowed the extremist group to seize control in a number of coastal cities including Nofaliya, Benghazi, Derna and Sirte – where the Coptic Christians were executed on Sunday.
The caption alongside the five-minute documenting the murderous video read: ‘The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.’
Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: ‘Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for.’
Egyptian warplanes struck Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday in swift retribution for the extremists’ beheading of a group of Egyptian Christian hostages on a beach, shown in a grisly online video released hours earlier.
In a radio interview today, Egypt’s president said a UN-backed coalition was Libya’s best chance of ridding Libya of its many extremist groups.
Speaking to France’s Europe 1 Radio, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Egyptian airstrikes against Islamic State group positions in Libya on Monday were in self-defense.
He siad: ‘We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children. We have abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners of the militias.
‘The militias have to give up their arms and must work in a civil context. We have to disarm and prevent arms from falling into the hands of extremists.
‘What happened [beheading of Egyptian Christians] is a crime, a monstrous terrorist crime that our children have their throats cuts in Libya and not to react. It’s a kind of self-defense accepted by the international community. We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children.’
Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron says he does not regret his country’s efforts to rid Libya of Muammar Gaddafi, despite growing unrest and the threat from terrorists.
The Prime Minister said UK would not abandon Libya as he maintained his decision to send British military forces to the north African country in 2011 was the ‘right thing to do’.
He said: ‘Britain is giving Libya support through our aid budget. We did a major training project for the Libyan security forces. We are doing work to try and bring together a national unity government in Libya.
‘But of course what we face in Libya is a very difficult situation with far too many armed militias, without a proper government and with the growth of ungoverned space, and we’ve had the appalling events of the last few days with the brutal, senseless murders of Coptic Christians on the beach, which I know has shocked the whole world.
‘I discussed it yesterday with the president of Egypt and what the whole world needs to do is come together and work for a Libya that has a national unity government, obviously excluding terrorists, and that can start to build the institutions of a state.’