‘Terrorists will not be safe’ – Egyptian FM to RT after Cairo’s retaliation strikes on Libya
“Those airstrikes were legitimate self-defense. Our nation will protect its national security by all means at its disposal,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told RT Arabic.
Egypt launched strikes in Derna, Libya on Friday in retaliation for a shooting attack on two buses and a truck carrying Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt earlier the same day.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack, which claimed at least 29 lives.
“There is irrefutable proof of connection between the targets that were hit in Libya and the events in Minya earlier,” Shoukry said.
“We cannot allow the terrorists to stay safe and benefit from a failure of the Libyan government’s loss of control over the country’s territories, which have now turned into a safe haven and a training ground for foreign fighters and other elements, who infiltrate through the Egypt-Libyan border and attack innocent Egyptian civilians,” he added.
Libya was plunged into chaos after a 2011 NATO bombing campaign helped rebels overthrow and kill Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The turmoil resulted in deterioration of the state, with two rival governments forming and local tribes and some cities setting their own law.
Rival gangs in the capital, Tripoli are currently engaged in the latest round of clashes, which has reportedly resulted in dozens of people killed and over a hundred injured.
Islamic State, which is based in Iraq and Syria, took advantage of the turmoil to send fighters and gain the allegiance of some local armed groups, seeking control over Libyan oil reserves.
The group even managed to gain control over the city of Sirte. It was only after a months-long battle that Sirte was liberated by militias and soldiers loyal to the UN-backed government in December of last year.