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Egypt manoeuvres near Libya: Beating drums of war or sending political messages?

Launch of an anti-naval missile by an Egyptian frigate during exercises [Egyptian Army/Twitter]
Launch of an anti-naval missile by an Egyptian frigate during exercises [Egyptian Army/Twitter]

Egypt is conducting massive military manoeuvres near the Libyan border, called "Decisive 2020", days after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that the cities of Sirte and Al-Jufra are a red line for the country's national security.

A source informed Arabi21 that the manoeuvres, which had not been announced in advance by the Egyptian army, would last from seven to nine days, in: "A clear message to Turkey that the armed forces are ready for the most far-reaching options in dealing with the Libyan file."

"The manoeuvres are designated to simulate the outbreak of war, as the forces of main branches are using live ammunition extensively," explained the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

READ: Ex-Egypt diplomat says Turkey trying to 'encircle Egypt'

A spokesperson of the Egyptian army stated that: "During the manoeuvres' main stage, multi-mission planes secured the fighting forces and provided air assistance for the purpose of eliminating mercenary elements belonging to irregular armies, in addition to shooting target areas where those elements are stationing, command centres and areas of accumulation and logistical support."

Turkish naval exercises

The Egyptian military manoeuvres carried out by the main branches of the armed forces coincide with Turkey's announcement of massive naval exercises off the Libyan coasts, which will shortly occur.

The Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that the naval exercises will take place in three different regions, with the participation of warplanes and naval vessels.

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