TEL AVIV – Columnists at Egyptian daily Al-Watan are calling for Egypt to launch preemptive strikes in Libya against the Islamic State, for fear that the terror group will attack Egyptian soil.
The articles, translated by MEMRI, were both published over the past week following a report by Egypt’s fatwa monitoring body warning about the rise in foreign ISIS recruits in Libya.
“What is clear – as clear as the sun rising in the East – is ISIS’s continuation of its efforts to transform Libya into a terror base that threatens first and foremost Egyptian security, but also the North African countries and the security of the Mediterranean and of Europe,” Muhammed Mukarram Ahmad wrote on December 9.
Ahmad claims that increased military force in Raqqa, Syria, makes Libya the new alternative to secure the caliphate and provide a secure base for ISIS leader Abu Al-Baghdadi. With sophisticated logistical capabilities, Libya is already a center for planning joint operations with Boko Haram in Africa. ISIS also controls dozens of camps and turned them into terror training centers for new recruits.
The article condemned Europe for doing nothing to stop ISIS from conquering Libya, despite pressure from Egypt. According to Ahmad, UN-led efforts to forge a national unity government in Libya are not having any effect and the West must start thinking about arming whatever is left of the Libyan army in order to liquidate ISIS on the ground.
Failing that, asserts Ahmad, Egypt must take it upon itself to “uproot the ISIS danger in its cradle – whether unilaterally, through a joint Arab effort with Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, or through an Arab-Western alliance in which the southern European countries – Italy, France, Spain, and Greece.”
In another column the following day, Adil Nu’man expresses his concern over ISIS’ reported takeover of the Libyan coastal cities, Derna and Sirte.
“The organization is trying to establish a ‘Western Desert’ province in Egypt, as a strong, central support location that would connect ISIS operatives in the east and in the west… in order to cement the pillars of its so-called Caliphate,” writes Nu’uman.
Nu’uman claims that the only solution is to preemptively attack ISIS’ home bases of Derna and Sirte. He outlined a list of further warnings for Egypt to heed; that there be no leniency for Egyptian traitors “who would sell the homeland for the delusion of their so-called Caliphate, and would join them and fight in their ranks” and that the Egyptian leadership ignore world opinion on matters of self-defense.
“It is our obligation to fight the ISIS operatives in Libya to defend our lives and our security,” writes Nu’uman.