Cairo – While Egypt continued its air assaults in Libya for the third consecutive day on Sunday, Egyptian army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai told Asharq Al-Awsat that the wave of strikes against terrorists attacking Egypt were successful.
Al-Rifai revealed that those attacks were not restricted to the coastal town of Derna, but they were directed at any place where terrorists are trained to shake Egypt’s stability.
“The Egyptian air strikes target all camps where terrorist members are being trained and which could threaten Egypt’s national security,” al-Rifai said.
Egypt carried out the airstrikes on Derna last Friday following the shooting of Coptic Christians in Minya in Upper Egypt, which resulted in the death of 29 civilians.
Asked whether Egypt could possibility participate in a ground invasion against the extremist bases inside Libya, a military source told Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone: “If the armed forces decide to conduct any air, ground or naval operation, they would not announce it.”
Other military sources said that the attacks launched against terrorist bases in Derna had reached extremist camps in the Jabal al-Akhdar (Green Mountain), adding that in the past few months, the army had traced the transfer of extremist forces from Sirte and Tripoli to areas in the east of Libya, near the borders with Egypt.
While the Libya Council had condemned the attack on Egypt’s Copts, it nevertheless denounced Cairo’s decision to attack Derna.
Meanwhile, a Russian-Egyptian meeting in Cairo is expected on Monday to discuss issues related to terrorism and the Libyan crisis.
Separately, former Libyan Youth and Sports Minister Mustafa al-Darssi launched fresh accusations against Qatar for supporting extremist groups in Libya, by telling Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that he had previously warned European diplomats during their meetings, from the threat of playing with terrorists.
Al-Darssi accused Qatar of sabotaging his country and of supporting armed groups at the expense of the National Army.
He also said that several Libyan leaders were disturbed from the Qatari interference in Tripoli’s internal affairs.