Warplanes carry out three strikes on Libya’s Derna


Warplanes launched three air strikes on the Libyan city Derna on Monday, a witness said, days after Egypt attacked camps there, saying it was targeting militants responsible for killing Egyptian Christians.

There was no immediate confirmation of the strikes from officials in Libya or Egypt, nor any claim of responsibility for the raid on the city at the eastern end of Libya’s Mediterranean coast.

The witness said one attack hit the western entrance to Derna and the other two hit Dahr al-Hamar in the south.

Egyptian jets attacked Derna on Friday, hours after masked militants boarded vehicles en route to a monastery in the Egyptian province Minya and opened fire at close range, killing 29 and wounding 24.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack in Egypt, the latest targeting the Christian minority there – two church bombings also claimed by Islamic State killed more than 45 last month.

Egypt, which attacked Derna again on Saturday, carried out a number of air strikes on its neighbour since Libya descended into factional fighting in the years following the 2011 civil war.

Islamist militant groups, including Islamic State, have gained ground in the chaos.

Egypt has been backing eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army has been fighting Islamist militant groups and other fighters in Benghazi and Derna for more than two years.

Libyan National Army spokesman Colonel Ahmad Messmari told reporters in Benghazi on Sunday Haftar’s forces were co-ordinating with Egypt’s military in air strikes and the weekend raids targeted ammunition stores and operations camps.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the air raids targeted militants responsible for plotting the attack and Egypt would not hesitate to carry out additional strikes in and outside the country.