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Egypt Seeks UN Action Against IS in Libya

Neighbors and friends of relatives of the Egyptian Coptic men killed in Libya sit at the courtyard of the Virgin Mary Church in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 16, 2015.

The United Nations Security Council plans an emergency meeting Wednesday on Libya, where Islamic State claims it beheaded 21 Christian Egyptians and posted the macabre video on the Internet.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shokry Selim says some Arab diplomats are working on a resolution that would change the arms embargo against Libya so its government could battle Islamic militias and other armed groups.

Selim said a political settlement in Libya will not eradicate militant ideology.

Egypt is pressing for an international military intervention in Libya after Islamic State militants beheaded 21 Christian Egyptians who were working in the country. However, the United States is not saying whether it would support military action against IS beyond Iraq and Syria.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi says what is going on in Libya could change the country into what he calls a “breeding ground” that could threaten the entire region.

In an interview with France’s Europe 1 radio, he made the case for an international military intervention in Libya, where Egypt's air force has already pounded targets that were said to be linked to Islamic State militants.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. would wait until Egypt’s request is reviewed in the U.N. Security Council.

“Obviously we all have a concern about the threat of ISIL. I think there is no secret about that. There will be a discussion and a range of proposals put out there but I don’t think we are going to get ahead of any process," said Psaki.

Psaki noted that President Barack Obama’s newly proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force, now before Congress, does not include a geographic limit for fighting the Islamic State.

However, she said there is no agreement to expand U.S. efforts to fight the militant group.

“The United States has not made a decision to expand beyond Iraq and Syria," she said.

The U.N. Security Council is expected on Wednesday to take up Egypt’s request for a resolution calling for international intervention in Libya.

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