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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (8)
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.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid