Libya’s internationally recognized premier threatened new air strikes with Egypt against ISIL terrorist group in his country, warning Friday that the ‘jihadists’ were poised to widen their presence there.
Abdullah al-Thani was referring to February 16 air strikes on the ISIL stronghold of Derna after the group released a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, mostly Egyptians.
Thani was speaking to journalists after meeting Egyptian officials to discuss the security situation in Libya, where ISIL has recently gained a foothold among the many forces vying for control of the oil-rich North African nation.
Following this month’s air strikes, in which Libyan forces also took part, Cairo called for international intervention against ISIL but that appeal was met with reticence by world powers.
But Thani on Friday made it clear that his government and Egypt would act on their own if need be, and reiterated a call for his government to be supplied with arms.
“Any time there is a danger and a threat, there will be air strikes, in complete coordination between Egypt and Libya,” he said.
Asked if that meant Egyptian warplanes would take part, he said: “Of course I am speaking of Egyptian raids.”
Using an Arabic acronym for ISIL, he said “Daesh is well-established in the region of Sirte and does not hide its presence in Tripoli. If troops are not provided with the weapons they need, the terrorist group will deploy throughout Libya.”