On October 15, Egyptian warplanes bombed Libyan Islamist positions in Benghazi.
Two officials speaking anonymously said the use of the warplanes was just “part of an Egyptian-led campaign against the militiamen that will eventually involve [the use of] Libyan ground troops…trained by Egyptian forces.”
The campaign is expected to last “three to six months” and also involve the Egyptian Navy.
According to the Associated Press, Libya’s elected administration asked Egypt to help root out the Islamists. Yet one of the officials who spoke anonymously made clear: “This is a battle for Egypt not Libya. Egypt was the first country in the region to warn against terrorism and it is also the first to fight it.”
Reuters reports that Libyan General Khalifa Hiftar had already vowed to wipe the Islamists out. But the AP indicates the Egyptians are not dealing with Hiftar. Rather, they are working “directly with a newly appointed Libyan chief of staff who has visited Egypt several times in recent weeks.”
It should be noted that Egyptian presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef denied reports that Egyptian planes were striking targets in Libya.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at email@example.com.