Egypt Strikes Libya Camps After Minya Attack

Smoke rises following an airstrike by Egyptian aircraft  in Libya (File Photo)Smoke rises following an airstrike by Egyptian aircraft  in Libya (File Photo)

Egyptian air force planes have carried out six strikes directed at camps near Derna in Libya where armed men responsible for a deadly attack on Christians are believed to have trained, Egyptian military sources say.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced on Friday that he had directed strikes against what he called “terrorist camps”, declaring in a televised address that states that sponsored terrorism would be punished, Aljazeera reported.

“Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror camps anywhere ... if it plans attacking Egypt whether inside or outside the country,” Sisi said.

Earlier on Friday, at least 28 Coptic Christians were killed and dozens more wounded by armed men who attacked them while they were travelling to a monastery in Egypt’s Minya Province.

The Christians were headed to the Saint Samuel Monastery, located outside Minya city, about 220 km south of the capital Cairo, when the masked attackers, who came in three pickup trucks, opened fire on them before fleeing the scene.

Egyptian security and medical officials told AP that of the 28 dead, many were children.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from the Libyan capital Tripoli, said residents of Derna “are very angry” about the airstrikes.

“Sources on the ground say the six locations targeted by Egyptian warplanes are civilian areas and populated districts inside the city,” he said.

“They say that only civilian properties like houses, farms and vehicles have been damaged.”

In the last two years, Egyptian air force has carried out several strikes on Derna, notably in February 2015 and March 2016, which killed women and children.

Egypt’s Christian minority, which makes up about 10% of the country’s population, has repeatedly been targeted by armed groups.

In April, at least 45 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in two separate suicide bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria during Palm Sunday ceremonies.

The attacks were claimed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

Following the Palm Sunday bombings, Sisi declared a nationwide three-month state of emergency.  

A bombing at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 in December 2016, including many women and children.


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