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El-Sissi asks for UN mandate against Libya IS

February 17, 2015

The president of Egypt has called on the UN to authorize an international coalition to fight "Islamic State" in Libya. El-Sissi said the coalition that fought Moammar Gadhafi had "abandoned the Libyan people."

Ägypten Reaktion auf Ermordung koptischer Christen durch IS
Image: imago/Xinhua

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for a United Nations resolution mandating an international coalition to fight "Islamic State" (IS) in Libya on Tuesday after his army's jets struck three IS targets there.

El-Sissi is particularly concerned about terrorist activity in the neighboring country after around 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped and beheaded in Libya, which was shown in an IS-style video that appeared in the Twitter feed of an IS-sympathizer website. The Egyptian military, working alongside Libyan forces, launched a series of retaliatory strikes targeting Islamist training camps and weapons depots.

"There is no other choice, taking into account the agreement of the Libyan people and government and that they call on us to act," he told France's Europe 1 radio in an interview that aired on Tuesday. The president was renewing his earlier call for an international coalition like the US-led one fighting IS in Iraq, and this time adding that the coalition should come via UN decree.

Referring to the 2011 Libyan war in which France was part of an international coalition backing forces that deposed former leader Moammar Gadhafi, el-Sissi called it an "unfinished mission".

"We abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners to extremist militias," he said in the interview with Europe 1.

El-Sissi urged weapons to be supplied to Libya's internationally recognized government, based in the eastern city of Tobruk after Islamist rivals seized power in Tripoli. The Tobruk government has already asked for the lifting of an international arms embargo to help it take back control of the country.

es/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)