US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli

Thursday, August 28, 2014

On Tuesday, officials of the US military said they believed recent airstrikes in Tripoli, Libya last week were the responsibility of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The announcement follows claims of responsibility from forces loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, who has been moving in support of militias involved in the widespread conflict within the country. Egypt has denied responsibility, with sources reporting the government of the UAE has thus far declined to comment.

There had already been evidence suggesting foreign involvement, with reports of US-made bomb fragments found in wreckage in Tripoli. Previous attacks by General Haftar's forces have reportedly struck Benghazi, with Libyan planes said to lack the range or capabilities for a night time attack on a target as distant as Tripoli.

US officials reportedly have been aware of the possibility of involvement from other regional countries, with Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia supporting secular militias, while Qatar support more Islamist forces, who are locked in violence as they contest the future of their country. Rulers within the region are also reported to be alarmed by the recent gains from Islamist factions.

"[they] are now stronger than the government itself, and [they] do now possess arms even more sophisticated than the government itself"

—Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Libyan Foreign minister

Libya's foreign minister, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, told The Guardian the government was no longer able to defend the country's assets, and while they did not want any outside intervention, they were in need of support and supplies. He stated the government were struggling to secure national assets against those "who are now stronger than the government itself, and who do now possess arms even more sophisticated than the government itself".