Video shows ISIS beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians earlier this month
Video shows ISIS beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians earlier this monthReuters

Almost 15,000 Egyptians have flocked home from war-torn Libya via the border crossing at Sallum, AFP reported on Monday, citing state media.

Egyptian and Libyan warplanes hit Islamic State (ISIS) targets inside Libya last week, after the jihadists released a gruesome video showing the beheadings of a group of Coptic Christians it kidnapped.

Cairo has since urged the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians working in Libya to leave, and also chartered planes to fly many of them home from Tunisia, Libya's western neighbor.

At least 14,585 have heeded the call and returned through Sallum in northwest Egypt, state news agency MENA reported.

It said they included 3,018 Egyptians on Monday alone, but did not specify how many were Christian, noted AFP.

A transport ministry spokeswoman in Tunisia said at least 1,000 Egyptians who had fled Libya have been airlifted home on planes chartered by Cairo since Friday.

Late on Monday a plane carrying 231 Egyptians airlifted from Tunisia earlier in the day landed at Cairo airport, the fifth such Egypt Air flight bringing Egyptians home, an airport official was quoted by the news agency as having said.

On Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said 13 ISIS targets were hit in the raids on the group last week, and called for a “unified Arab force” to fight the growing terrorist threats in the Middle East.

"The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day," he said in a televised address, noting that Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have offered to send troops as Egypt steps up its efforts to battle ISIS.

"The challenges in the region, and facing our countries, are huge challenges, and ... we can overcome those challenges once we are together," Sisi added.