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Egyptian shot dead in Libya

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Thousands of Egyptians have recently been evacuated from restive neighbour Libya

An Egyptian citizen was shot dead in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte on Tuesday after entering an argument with two armed men.

Egypt’s state-run MENA reported that the suspect was arrested 30 kilometres west of Sirte. The deceased Egyptian citizen worked at a store outside Sirte.

The two armed men walked into the store and following disagreements, skirmishes broke out between them and the Egyptian citizen. Afterwards, one of the armed men pulled out a weapon and shot a “barrage of bullets” at the Egyptian citizen, MENA said.

Violence in Libya escalated drastically last May when General Khalifa Haftar declared war on “terrorism”, resulting in heavy fighting between several secular and Islamist militia.

Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Head of UN Support Mission in Libya Tarek Mitri said on 27 August that “food, fuel, water and electricity are in short supply”.

On the same day, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, calling for an “immediate ceasefire” and condemning “the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions”. Mitri said all sides have used “heavy weapons” in densely populated areas.

Egyptians have often been the target of violence in Libya. In April, 50 Egyptian nationals were detained by armed Libyans for two days. Within a period of four days in late March, two Egyptians were shot and killed in Benghazi. Earlier in the month, another Egyptian national was gunned down in the same city.

Last October dozens of Egyptian truck drivers were abducted along the same stretch of road.

According to statements made by Egyptian Ambassador to Libya Mohamed Fayez Jibril in August, Libya hosts 1.6 million Egyptians.

Thousands of Egyptians, however, have been evacuated in July and August as result of intensified fighting in Libya. Egyptians have either returned through the Salloum border crossing, which connects Egypt to Libya, or by crossing into Tunisia and flying back to Egypt through an emergency airlift set up by the Egyptian government.

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia expects around 250,000 Egyptians to return within the next few weeks if fighting continues, and said the crisis could harm Egypt’s struggling economy.

The deterioration of the situation in Libya has affected the Egypt-Libya border area. On Sunday, Egyptian authorities re-opened the Salloum border crossing with Libya, allowing for the movement of trucks, after a 40-day suspension.

The violence in Libya has been a major concern for its neighbours. Egypt has stressed the need for the end of violence in Libya and hosted the fourth ministerial meeting for Libya’s neighbouring countries in which foreign ministers from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and other countries met.

The foreign ministers stressed the need for “a comprehensive commitment to dialogue, to renounce violence and support the political process” calling for “external parties to refrain from supplying and providing parties [with] illegal weapons”.

Reports of Egyptian involvement in the fighting inside Libya have surfaced over the past few weeks and one Libyan militant group Fajr Libya has accused Egypt and the UAE of launching two air raids against the group’s forces.

Egypt denied these accusations on 24 August.


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