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US holds Egypt, UAE responsible for Libyan airstrikes

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Libyan and Egyptian Foreign Ministers deny any interference

Both the United States Pentagon and State Department said on Tuesday that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are behind recent foreign attacks in Libya that left civilians dead.

Earlier this month foreign planes bombed Libya; the Misrata forces, an alliance of Islamist militants, blamed Egypt and UAE.

Admiral John Kirby said that the US is certain that there were airstrikes undertaken in recent days by the UAE and Egypt inside Libya “in some fashion”. His country gained this information following a second strike, he said.

He added that the US objects to dealing with militants in this way as it does not want “more violence on top of violence that’s already existing inside Libya.”

Spokesperson for the US State Department Jen Psaki also acknowledged that the US “understands” Egypt and UAE are behind the attacks, yet denied that her country had had any recent talks with either of them about the incident.

She later said on Twitter: “Comment today on Libya intended to refer to countries reportedly involved, not speak for them.”

On Tuesday, the Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz said that reports of Egyptian military involvement in Libya are “untruthful rumours”, state-run Al-Ahram reported.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called all published reports regarding Egyptian military action in Libya are “pure fabrication” and denied receiving any official information about this topic. He stressed during a meeting with the Libyan head of parliament, foreign minister, and military chief that Egypt fully respects the will of the Libyan people and supports the unity of Libya.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had previously denied that the bombing planes were Egyptian or that there had been any Egyptian interference.

The US, Germany, Italy, France, and the UK had issued a joint statement on Monday saying that “outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition.”

Egypt’s hosted Monday the fourth ministerial meeting for Libya’s neighbouring countries in which foreign ministers from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and other countries discussed the ongoing turmoil in Libya. The foreign ministers and the head of the Arab League stressed during the meetings their concern for preserving the “unity and sovereignty” of Libya.

The Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement on Sunday that warned the Egyptian military against involvement in the conflict in Libya to avoid “catastrophic consequences”. The Egyptian military’s involvement in the conflict “to fulfil foreign agendas” is a threat to national security, ruins the military’s reputation, and weakens its ability to face “real enemies”, the outlawed group said.

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Aya Nader

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