The Islamic State has released a graphic new execution video in which an affiliated group of Libyan fighters execute 30 men they claim are Ethiopian Christians. Half of them are shot, the other half beheaded.
But, why did the Islamic State choose Ethiopians? While the extremist group — also referred to as ISIS or ISIL — has exerted influence in East Africa, it has generally steered clear of Ethiopia itself. Does this new propaganda video imply that that will no longer be the case?
The video claims that the victims are "the enemy."
According to Al Arabiya's English news site, text appears on-screen during the 29-minute video that describes the 30 victims as "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church."
However, there's no evidence to suggest that the captives are the enemy because they are from Ethiopia.
In February, 21 Egyptians were selected to be executed in another propaganda video. These videos, and the resulting media they generate, are one of the Islamic State's tactics to spread awareness of itself and further its goal of building a Sunni Islamic caliphate.
Is Ethiopia particularly vulnerable to the Islamic State?
Ethiopia shares a border with Somalia to the East, where al-Shabab is based, and Kenya to the South, where al-Shabab attacked Garissa University College earlier this month.
According to reports, the Islamic State has courted the extremist group with an allegiance deal similar to what they proposed to Nigeria's Boko Haram. Should al-Shabab accept, the Islamic State's influence in that region of East Africa would grow considerably.
What else should I know about the video?
The New York Times points out that the video, if all of its claims are true, would confirm that the Islamic State is actively coordinating with the group of fighters in Libya who have taken up their name — and potentially other groups in other countries, as well.
In other words, the organization has a much tighter and more robust international infrastructure than previously believed.
Fusion reached out to both Ethiopia and Libya's U.N. Missions as well as the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C., but had yet to hear back at press time.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.