Egypt Strikes Terrorist Encampment in Libya
Gunmen earlier attacked a bus carrying worshippers in central Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others.
President Sisi said he would “not hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere”.
Announcing the strike in a TV speech late on Friday, he promised to “protect our people from the evil”.
“Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbor or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt,” the al-Ahram news agency quoted Sisi as saying.
Egypt carried out six air strikes in Derna in eastern Libya, state television reported adding that it is where the militants who carried out the deadly attack on the Coptic Christians were trained.
Following the Libyan incursion, Egyptian armed forces released a short video which was aired on state television following the president’s speech. The voiceover in the army video said its air force carried out strikes on targets in Libya “after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday.”
Egypt’s military said that the air strikes are ongoing, local media reports.
Military sources told Reuters news agency that the militants targeted in Libya had been involved in the attack on Egyptian Christians earlier in the day.
Although no group immediately said it was behind the attack, Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months
Libya is effectively controlled by a large number of armed militias that have emerged in the chaos since Nato-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.
Egyptian security forces have destroyed some 300 vehicles over the past two months which attempted to cross the border from Libya in order to bring in “evil,” according to Sisi, who emphasized the huge efforts his country has undertaken to battle terrorism.
The Egyptian president also directly addressed Donald Trump to take the lead in fighting terrorism.
“I direct my appeal to President Trump: I trust you, your word and your ability to make fighting global terror your primary task,” he said.
On Friday President Trump condemned the attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, denouncing the “thuggish ideology” and “evil organizations of terror.”
“We are probably going to see more action particularly following the meeting that just took place in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, in which Donald Trump himself called for greater response to terrorism… and president el-Sisi gave Trump those kind of assurances,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.
“Identifying the states and the entities within these states who are arming and financing and providing all types of diplomatic and political cover for these organizations to continue to operate in this fashion” must be one of Egypt’s priorities when in its battle against extremists, Azikiwe said.
“We do know that Libya has become a base for instability throughout North Africa and even beyond to West Africa and of course into Europe as Well,” he added.
At least 28 Coptic Christians were killed and 23 others injured earlier Friday, when gunmen, disguised as army soldiers, opened fire on a bus heading to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, located 135km (85 miles) south of Cairo, in the Minya governorate.
No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the bus.