Last updated: 26 August, 2014

Egypt denies direct role in air raids on Libya

Egypt Tuesday denied any “direct” role in air raids on Islamist positions in Libya, after US officials said the United Arab Emirates carried out the strikes from bases in Egypt.

“We have no direct tie to any military operation in Libya,” Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri told journalists in Cairo.

He added, however: “We help the Libyan armed forces by supplying their requirements for training.”

The Islamist militias targeted in last week’s raids have charged that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind the night sorties.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday denied “categorically” that his country mounted any “military operation on Libyan territory”.

But US officials told AFP on Monday that UAE jets launched two attacks in seven days on the Islamists in Tripoli using bases in Egypt.

Asked about a New York Times report of cooperation between the UAE and Egypt in the raids near Tripoli airport, Shoukri said: “I have seen no official US statement on this matter.

“There are certain rumours in the media but with all the respect I have for the media, their reports are not always credible and exact.”

Shoukri spoke during a visit to Cairo by Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz and parliament speaker Aguila Salah Issa.

Islamist militias who control large areas of Libya contest the authority of both the interim government and the newly elected parliament, although both have won international recognition.

On Monday, the General National Congress, which the new parliament was supposed to replace, reconvened at the request of Islamists and named a rival prime minister, whom it asked to form a government within a week.

During the Libyan officials’ visit to Cairo, Egypt reiterated its support for the interim government and the elected parliament.