Egypt Strikes Libya After Attack on Coptic Christians

Egypt Strikes Libya After Attack on Coptic Christians

Egypt will not hesitate to bomb the terrorist camps anywhere, either inside Egypt or abroad, “proclaimed the president who appeared before the cameras with a gesture more pitiful than fierce. “The countries that support terrorism must be punished and there is no courtesy or reconciliation with them,” he added with rhetoric that he could have borrowed from Donald Trump, his new ally.

In fact, in his speech, he questioned the president of the USA: “You have said that your priority is to confront terrorism, and I believe you are capable of doing it.” According to the official Egyptian news agency MENA, which cites senior Army officials, the air operation would have “completely” destroyed the terrorist training camp in Derna, a city where several Islamist militias became strong after the fall of the regime.

Gaddafi A spokesman for the “Majlis Mujahidin Derna”, the council that controls the city, affiliated with Al Qaeda, said the bombing did not cause any fatalities. On the other hand, the forces of the Libyan General Jalifa Hafter, that fight the Islamist militias of the east of the country, affirmed yesterday that their planes also participated in the action.

The following day, on Saturday, the self-styled Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack through a communiqué, the latest action of an offensive against Coptic Christians that began last year and has already claimed more life. of a hundred people. “It is important to remember that ISIS was defeated/expelled from Derna long ago, it is not clear what the objective of the Egyptians was,” Libyan analyst Mohamed Eljarh wrote in his twitter account, based in the east of the country.

Given that the claim came after the bombing, and that the attackers fled, it is very difficult for the Egyptian Government to have any evidence of a “Libyan connection” before ordering retaliation. Rather it seems to be an attempt to appease the spirits of the Coptic Christian community.

In a public statement, the Coptic Orthodox Church urged the authorities to “take the necessary measures to prevent these attacks.” While the Egyptian Christians overwhelmingly supported Al Sisi after the 2013 coup that took him to power, at the funerals of the victims of the latest attacks, groups of Christians have shouted slogans against the Government

This is not the first time that “raïs” Al Sisi reacts with an aerial bombardment after a massacre against the Coptic Christian community. In mid-February 2015, Egyptian fighter-bombers also hit several jihadist bases, one of them in Derna, after the self-styled Islamic State issued the video of the brutal murder of 21 Coptic Christians by beheading. However, on that occasion, the killing at least did take place in Libya itself, although probably not in the areas that attacked the Egyptian planes in their revenge action.

Until last summer, ISIS came to control a strip of more than 100 kilometers of the coastal strip in Libya around the city of Sirte, its bastion. However, after months of struggle, militias aligned with the Government of National Unity sponsored by the international community evicted ISIS from the area. According to several observers of the Libyan political scene, hundreds of fighters of the jihadist militia managed to flee to the siege of Sirte, and have taken refuge in the south of the country.

Therefore, despite the collapse of its Libyan “emirate”, the threat posed by the jihadist militia has not completely disappeared from the Maghreb country. In fact, the British intelligence services believe that the author of the recent Manchester attack claimed by ISIS, Salman Abedi, traveled to Libya before the attack, where he probably received training. On the other hand, in a new example of misgovernment that plagues the country, at least 28 people died on Friday in combats between rival militias in the capital, Tripoli.

Supriya Bhor

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