The Tobruk government’s army has renewed its support for the strikes carried out by the Egyptian air force on various locations in the east city of Derna.
Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is personally overseeing the operations which have entered their fourth day, the government confirmed yesterday.
In a post on Facebook, Colonel Ahmed Al-Mesmari, spokesman for the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces said:
The Libyan Air Force is conducting a joint operation with the Egyptian Air Force targeting Al-Qaeda in Libya.
“The Libyan and Egyptian Air Forces are carrying out these operations under the direct supervision of the commander-in-chief [Khalifa Haftar] in a joint operations room.”
Egypt did not comment on the statement.
Earlier in the day, several local sources from Derna reported that the city had witnessed five air raids by the Egyptian Air Force which caused material damage. No one was hurt in the strikes.
Egypt began its airstrikes against sites in Derna on Friday after 29 Christians where killed by gunmen who attacked the bus that was taking them to the province of Minya.
The attack led to Cairo accusing the Libyan Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna of being involved in the incident. On the evening of the attack, Egypt announced that airstrikes were being launched on the group’s positions in Derna.
The council denied any involvement in the Minya attack.
It said in a statement:
We are surprised to be accused alongside ISIS [Daesh]. Everyone knows that we are the ones who threw ISIS out of the city [Derna].
This is the second time in two years that Egypt has launched airstrikes within Libyan territory. The first such strike came after a video was broadcast on YouTube showing the execution of 21 Christian Egyptians in Libya who had been kidnapped by Daesh.