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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora