Feb 16, 2015
Egypt Conducts Airstrikes on Islamic State Targets in Libya
In a statement Monday morning, the Egyptian military said that it had conducted airstrikes at dawn against training camps and arms depots of the Islamic State group in Libya, but it did not provide further details. Egyptian warplanes had struck Derna, a town in eastern Libya that is a hub of Islamist militancy. It is also close to the Egyptian border, well within the range of the jets.
The airstrikes are a dramatic escalation of Egypt’s role in the continuing battle between armed factions in Libya for control of the country. With the backing of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt has worked covertly to support a Libyan general who is fighting to take back the capital and much of the coast from a rival coalition of militia groups, some of which are made up of Islamist extremists.
The Egyptian military said in a statement issued around 8:30 a.m. that the dawn strikes were “retribution and response to the criminal acts of terrorist elements and organizations inside and outside the country.”
Egypt’s air assault came less than 12 hours after the main Islamic State group released a video online that appeared to show fighters from the group’s self-proclaimed Tripolitania Province beheading more than a dozen Egyptian Christians.
The video of their beheadings Sunday night aroused special horror in Egypt and beyond because it was filmed with the theatrical brutality that has become a trademark of the Islamic State.