The Egyptian armed forces carried out an airstrike on the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ in Libya. They hit camps, training sites, and ammunition and weaponry warehouses after 21 Coptic Egyptians were killed on Saturday.
The strike, conducted in the early hours of Monday “hit its targets accurately”, an armed forces statement said.
“[The attack] is revenge for the criminal acts conducted by terrorist elements and groups inside and outside the country,” asserted the statement.
The 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers had been kidnapped in the city of Sirte.
“Vengeance for Egyptian blood from killers and criminals is a right and an obligated duty,” the armed forces stated.
The airstrike came on order from the National Defence Council based on Egypt’s right to defend its people’s security and stability, the statement added.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had instructed the council’s assembly Sunday night, after the ‘Islamic State’, also known as ISIS, had issued a video showing the beheading of the Egyptians.
Al-Sisi directed the government to strictly prohibit Egyptians from going to Libya and to facilitate the return of Egyptians who want to come back from the neighbouring country.
“The ISIS gangs’ execution of unarmed Egyptians brothers is an attack on [both] Libya and Egypt,” the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry offered condolences to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry who had left early Monday for the US to conduct talks with the United Nations and the Security Council’s member states.
Al-Sisi had asked him to participate in an international summit on terrorism, in order to put the international community responsible and take procedures consistent with the UN Charter, considering that what is happening in Libya is a threat to international peace and security.
A number of countries condemned the killings, including France, the US, and the United Arab Emirates.