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Egypt launches 2nd day of air strikes on Libya

A Rafale fighter jet of the Egyptian Air Force [file photo]
A Rafale fighter jet of the Egyptian Air Force [file photo]

Egypt launched a fresh round of air strikes over Libya on Saturday, Egyptian military sources and an eyewitness told Reuters, targeting militant camps it said were responsible for a shooting spree that killed dozens of Egyptian Christians.

On Friday, Egyptian fighter jets struck eastern Libya just hours after an attack that killed 29 and wounded 24 in the southern Egyptian province of Minya when masked militants boarded vehicles en route to a monastery and opened fire at close range.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest directed at Egypt’s increasingly embattled Christian minority following two church bombings last month that killed more than 45, also claimed by the group.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday he had ordered air raids on militant camps in Libya, where he said the Minya gunmen had trained, though he did not name a specific group responsible.

Read: Hamas condemns mass killing of Copts in Egypt

Two military sources told Reuters that three additional air raids on Saturday morning struck the area of Derna, a city where east Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar, a close ally of Egypt, have been trying to gain control from extremist militants and other opponents.

A source in Haftar’s Libyan National Army told Reuters that they had coordinated with Egyptian counterparts to strike ammunition stores belonging to the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, an extremist umbrella group that opposes Daesh.

A video uploaded to the military’s Facebook page depicted fighter jets being armed with missiles and taking off as well as aerial footage of air strikes.

Read: Egypt’s Coptic Christians face persecution at home and apathy abroad

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