Egypt has launched an air assault on terror training camps in Libya, following the deadly bus attack that claimed the lives of over two dozen Coptic Christian men, women and children.
On Friday, Egyptian fighter jets struck eastern Libya just hours after a shooting that killed 29 and wounded 24 in the southern Egyptian province of Minya when masked militants boarded vehicles en route to a monastery and opened fire at close range.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest directed at Egypt’s increasingly embattled Christian minority following two church bombings last month that killed more than 45, also claimed by the group.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday he had ordered air raids on militant camps in Libya, where he said the Minya gunmen had trained, though he did not name a specific group responsible.
…Two military sources told Reuters that three additional air raids on Saturday morning struck the area of Derna, a city where east Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar, a close ally of Egypt, have been trying to gain control from Islamists and other opponents.
The Egyptians launched the air strikes once the location of the terror training sites as known, and early reports indicate the operations have been successful.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told his US counterpart Rex Tillerson that the jihadists who attacked the Christian convoy had trained in Libyan militant camps.
“There was enough information and evidence of the terrorist elements involved in the (attack) having trained in these camps”, a foreign ministry statement quoted him as saying.
A spokesman for the pro-Al-Qaeda Majlis Mujahedeen Derna, which controls the city in eastern Libya, said the Egyptian air force carried out eight raids on the city without causing casualties.
A Libyan air force statement said: “The operation was a success and the losses of the Al-Qaeda terrorists were heavy in casualties and equipment.”
In a speech given after the bus attack, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi referenced President Donald Trump as he laid out his plans to combat terrorists on a regional scale.
Al-Sisi said that ISIS is trying to divide the unity of the Egyptian people and erupt sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians, adding that the terrorist group keeps on feeding the belief that Christians are not having their full rights in Egypt.
He went on to say that the world should collaborate now to combat terrorism, and this is the biggest mission of the US President Donald Trump.
“The mission of the terrorists is done in Syria, and now they are moving on to Egypt. They are trying to break the coherency of the Egyptian state,” said Al-Sisi.
The Egyptian president further added in that Egypt won’t hold back on targeting terrorists and their locations, so more air strikes on these training camps are likely.
It appears as if Egypt may be the first to #DriveThemOut.
— Feisty☀️Floridian (@peddoc63) May 23, 2017
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