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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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