Dabiq ISIS magazine Egyptian Coptic Christians abducted
Islamic State militants have killed 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were held hostage in Libya. Dabiq

A video has been released which shows 21 Egyptian Christians being beheaded by Islamic State. (IS)

The victims were kidnapped by the terror group from the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya, now under the control of Islamist groups.

The five-minute footage, posted online by Libyan jihadists allied to IS, shows a group of handcuffed hostages wearing orange overalls, being forced to the ground and then decapitated by the terrorists, who are dressed in black.

A caption on the video reads: "The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church" and the producers identify themselves as the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State group."

On Friday (13 February), IS released pictures of the Egyptians, saying they had been kidnapped to avenge the fate of Muslim women "tortured and murdered by the Coptic church of Egypt".

Egypt's foreign ministry earlier confirmed that around 20 Egyptians had been kidnapped in two incidents in neighbouring Libya. On hearing reports of their deaths, Egypt's president Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi called urgent security talks.

There have been demonstrations in Egypt calling on the government to do more to secure the release of the captives. Egypt's president had offered to airlift Egyptian expatriates out of Libyan territory.

The Egyptian uprising in 2011 has seen thousands of Egyptians heading to Libya in search of jobs, despite government advice that they should stay away from the dangerous country.

Egypt's Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East comprising about nine million to 15 million out of a total population of about 87 million.

The beheadings come just days after IS released a video showing the gruesome burning alive of a Jordanian pilot it captured after his F-16 came down in Syria in December.