Libya's Mystery Beach and the 21st Victim

Isn't it a little strange that with so much international press coverage of the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, no one has identified the beach in the video?

Everyone reports the Christians were kidnapped in Sirte. But when it comes to the beach, no one names it. It's mostly described as "a Libyan beach." Some think the beach is in western Libya near Tripoli. Others think it is in Sirte. (The video says Wilayat (province) of Tarabulus, which means Tripoli, but a province could encompass other towns in the region, including Sirte. Still, Sirte is 460 km from Tripoli, almost a 6 hour drive according to google maps.

One person tweeted it is 7 km west of Sirte, based on the lone palm tree in the background here: [More...]

In 2013, a tourist blogger posted this photo of the Mina beach in Tripoli, which bears some resemblance.

I couldn't find an exact match for the beach on Google Earth -- there are a lot of beaches with a lone palm tree. There are also beaches in Italy, Greece, and other countries that look just like it.

Last night an ISIS tweeter posted this photo.

When James Foley was murdered, the media tried to pinpoint the exact spot, using geolocation and high tech software. No one seems to be trying to find this beach. I've looked at hundreds of beaches and can't match it. I can't be the only one who's curious. It is, after all, a major crime scene.

Some other oddities in the video: ISIS really must be eating their Wheaties because they tower over the hostages. How can they possibly be that much larger?

I'd also like to know what laundry detergent they use -- look how bright those orange uniforms are.

There seems to be a general consensus that ISIS sent in its media crew from Syria to film the video, as it's far more professional than anything else coming out of Libya and bears so much resemblance to the mass beheading video of the Syrian pilots. That would mean a lot of advance planning went into it. Since ISIS now has 4 wilayats in Libya, it seems it's pretty serious about staying there. Although, I wonder if some of the fighters aren't doing double duty, as some of the members of the Barqa wilayat seem to also be featured in Tripoli photos.

There's also the "mystery victim". Notice Mr. ISIS Leader's victim. He's not one of the 20 Coptic Christians featured in Dabiq Magazine or prior ISIS publications about the Christian kidnappings. ISIS said it captured 21 Coptic Christians but it only posted photos of 20. It didn't post this picture:

Who is he? News reports in Ghana say his real name is Matthew Ayariga and he's Ghanian. He was among the 7 persons kidnapped while driving through Sirte on December 30. He was previously identified as Samuel Alahm Welson.

According to reports, he was travelling to Tripoli en-route to Ghana when he was arrested somewhere in January 2015. He was never seen again until friends identified him on TV yesterday.

Libyan news thought he was going to Egypt.

On Dec. 30, seven Christians were kidnapped while driving back to Egypt on the coastal road that passes through Sirte. The names of the seven men kidnapped on Dec. 30 are Samuel Alahm Welson, Ezat Boushra Naseef, Louka Nagaty, Essam Badar Sameer, Malak Farag Abraam, Sameh Salah Farouk and Gaber Mouneer Adly.

Why was he included in this group of victims?

On December 25, the Libya Morning News reported that the leader of Ansar al Sharia in Libya had been replaced by someone hand-picked by al Baghdadi from Masrata to serve as Wali of Tripoli. But yesterday, the Libyan army said the emir of Tripoli is Abu Talha al Tunisi. Here's a photo reportedly of Abu Talha al Tunisi which looks nothing like Mr. ISIS Leader in the video.

Here's a news report from Italy in January that says al Tunisi was in Aleppo, Syria working for ISIS. It says he trained with the Chechens and then worked his way up the ISIS ladder before returning to Tunisia.

Also a mystery: When did these beheadings take place? According to a tweet by a "political and media activist", they were killed on January 4, the day after the second group was kidnapped:

Urgent ... slaughter all Egyptians Copts 13 kidnapped two days ago and found the bodies of seven area located under the hand of the Kharijites west of the city of Sirte.

Despite the airstrikes and threats of the Libyan army to send in ground troops, ISIS marches on. Yesterday it held a parade in Sirte and a musical instrument destruction event.

In the "good news" department, no one seems to be seriously advocating the U.S. enter a war in Libya.

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  • Display: Sort:
    That picture of those tall guys (none / 0) (#1)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 19, 2015 at 08:52:38 PM EST
    is creepy.  They look like space aliens.

    The surf in the background (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 20, 2015 at 06:57:29 AM EST
    of the beach photo shows both lefts and rights for surfers, and the tide is low.  My surfer friends are looking at the photo for clues, but so far no one I know has surfed Libya.

    How about beaches (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 20, 2015 at 09:06:05 AM EST
    Specifically near the Green Mountains?