News / Middle East

US Surprised by Egypt, UAE Airstrikes on Libyan Militants

Plumes of black smoke can be seen after clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and fighters of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, as they each attempt to seize control of the airport from the council in Benghazi, Libya, Aug. 23, 2014.Plumes of black smoke can be seen after clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and fighters of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, as they each attempt to seize control of the airport from the council in Benghazi, Libya, Aug. 23, 2014.
x
Plumes of black smoke can be seen after clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and fighters of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, as they each attempt to seize control of the airport from the council in Benghazi, Libya, Aug. 23, 2014.
Plumes of black smoke can be seen after clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and fighters of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, as they each attempt to seize control of the airport from the council in Benghazi, Libya, Aug. 23, 2014.
VOA News

Senior U.S. officials said Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have launched airstrikes against Islamic militants in the Libyan capital twice in the past week.

U.S. officials told reporters that the move caught the United States by surprise, potentially dealing a blow to relations between Washington, Cairo and the Emirates.

U.S. officials said Egypt provided the base for the launch of the airstrikes, and the U.A.E. provided the aircraft and pilots.

Egypt has not publicly acknowledged any role in the air strikes. The UAE had no immediate comment.

The first strike took place in Tripoli a week ago and targeted Islamist-alligned militant-held facilities, such as a weapons depot, and killed six people, according to The New York Times.

The second airstrike hit militant-controlled rocket launchers, military vehicles and a warehouse in Tripoli, killing a dozen people.

U.S. officials, according to the Times, say the strikes have, so far, proved counterproductive. The militants gained control of the Tripoli airport just hours after the second attack.

Warning against interference

On Monday, the United States and four top European allies warned against outside interference in Libya.

The State Department, along with Britain, France, Germany and Italy, issued a statement saying actions by outsiders exacerbate divisions in Libya and undermine democracy.

The five allies strongly condemned ongoing fighting in such major cities as Tripoli and Benghazi, especially in residential areas, and urged all parties to accept a cease-fire.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Numerous armed Islamist groups are violently jockeying for power, competing assemblies have elected rival prime ministers, and an interim central government is struggling to establish security.

The violence in Tripoli and Benghazi has prompted several countries to evacuate their citizens and diplomats from Libya.

Officials from Libya's neighbors - Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia - have met in Cairo to discuss the worsening chaos.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said the weapons stockpiled by all the Libyan militias should be confiscated. He has voiced concern about the effect of the turmoil on Libya's neighbors.

  • Speaker of the Libyan Parliament Ageila Saleh Eissa (left) meets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the presidential palace in Cairo, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Foreign ministers from Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, and Chad, as well as the Arab League Secretary General, met together to address the weeks of inter-militia fighting that has wreaked havoc in Libya, in Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 25, 2014.
  • Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz attends the Fourth Ministerial Meeting for the Neighboring Countries of Libya, which aims to address the latest developments in the security and political situation in Libya, in Cairo, Aug. 25, 2014.
  • Airstrikes from unknown attackers against Islamist militias prompted allegations that outside powers were trying to impact the outcome of the battle, Tripoli, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Clashes between rival militias have wrecked havoc for the last several weeks causing concerns that Libya is sliding deeper into turmoil, in Tripoli, Aug. 24, 2014.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bryan from: Louisiana
August 27, 2014 2:11 PM
There is no way the US was caught "by surprise" on this operation. We were probably in on the planning.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 26, 2014 7:00 PM
The air strikes in Libya by Egypt and United Arab Emirates "caught United States by surprise"? ...well, tell that story to the birds !. The world knows that Egypt and UAE have no capabilities of conducting anything outside of their countries without the support and guidance from Unite States Of American.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
August 26, 2014 4:42 PM
It doesn't have to be the Libya Gahdafi left ,now we have Western Libya with capital in Tripoli and Eastern Libya with capital in Bengazi till a uniting force or individual come along.

by: John from: Florida
August 26, 2014 12:55 PM
US and the other four should take their own advice: meddling in the affairs of another's country is counterproductive

by: bobv from: texas
August 26, 2014 12:42 PM
1) UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were giving the weapons by the USA with conditions as to when and where the weapons can be used (so to protect Israel.)
2) having a plane\pilot and airport doesn't make targets brighter or easier, some other country like US or UK with access to satellite would provide the intelligence and the target coordinates.
3) It's highly encouraged by the west to have muslims kill other muslims.

by: db from: Boston
August 26, 2014 12:39 PM
Surprised?
We are wasting a perfect opportunity to work together with all concerned to thwart this group.

by: Guy
August 26, 2014 12:29 PM
Would you trust Obama? Or maybe he just didn't get the memo on the golf course?

by: chris87654 from: USA
August 26, 2014 12:25 PM
EXCELLENT! Moderate Muslims finally going after the miscreants they've allowed to grow over the past 1500 years. This could bring a major change in the Middle East - a shame it's taken so long and so many innocent lives to make it happen.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More