United States: UAE and Egypt are behind air strikes in Libya

Tue, 26.08.2014 12:20

KYIV/Ukraine in Arabic/ The air strikes on militia positions around Tripoli's international airport were reportedly carried out by Emirati fighter jets using bases in Egypt, American official claimed.

They told that the US had not been consulted about the air strikes and that it was concerned that US weapons may have been used, violating agreements under which they were sold.

The Egyptian authorities have denied involvement, and there has been no direct comment from the UAE.

The first air strikes, which took place on 18 August, targeted a small weapons depot and other militia positions, US officials told the newspaper. Six people were reportedly killed.

Then on Saturday, jets bombed rocket launchers, military vehicles and a warehouse controlled by militiamen, the officials added, leaving at least a dozen people dead.

On Monday, the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK issued a joint statement denouncing "outside interference" in Libya which it said "exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya's democratic transition".

The strikes failed to stop militias from Misrata and other cities, which operate under the banner Libya Dawn and include some Islamist groups, seizing the airport from a militia from Zintan that had controlled it since 2011.

The airport, Libya's largest, has been closed for more than a month because of the fighting.

Hundreds of people have died since clashes broke out in Tripoli in July.

According to information sources the air strikes have exposed another battleground in a regional struggle for power between Arab autocrats and Islamist movements.

Qatar has provided weapons and money to Islamist forces in Libya and elsewhere, while Egypt and the UAE along with Saudi Arabia are trying to roll back Islamist advances.

Violence in Libya has surged recently between the rival groups who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 uprising.

Libya's police and army remain weak in comparison with the militia.

Rival parliaments

In another development on Monday, some members of Libya's previous Islamist-dominated parliament reconvened and voted to disband the country's interim government.

Elections in June saw the old General National Congress (GNC), where Islamists had a strong voice, replaced by the House of Representatives, dominated by liberals and federalists.

The GNC has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of its successor assembly, which is based in Tobruk and is recognised by the international community.

The GNC's mandate expired in June and not enough of its former members gathered in Tripoli on Monday to form a quorum.

The House of Representatives says the groups now in control of Tripoli are "terrorist organisations".

But the Misrata-led brigade has called on the GNC to resume work.

Libya's government has repeatedly called for the militia groups to disband and join the national army. But so far, few have shown a willingness to disarm.


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