Libya's Brotherhood decries Egypt airstrikes

TRIPOLI (AA) – The Justice and Building Party (associated with Libya's Muslim Brotherhood) has denounced a series of Egyptian airstrikes carried out on Libyan territory on Monday.

"We denounce this violation of Libyan sovereignty," party leader Mohamed Sowan told The Anadolu Agency.

"We urge the international community to shoulder its responsibility to take a clear stance on such assaults, which impede dialogue and stability in Libya," he said.

Sowan went on to urge all Libyan factions to "set aside their differences and engage in serious dialogue with a view to ending the country's political divisions."

Earlier Monday, Libya's Islamist-led General National Congress (GNC) condemned a series of Egyptian airstrikes carried out against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) targets in Libya, describing the raids as "violations of Libya's sovereignty."

"We strongly condemn the Egyptian aggression on [the city of] Darnah and consider it a violation of Libya's sovereignty," GNC deputy head Awad Abdel-Sadeq said in a televised address on Monday.

"Libya is a sovereign state; combatting terrorism on its soil should be conducted by the [Libyan] state," he added.

Abdel-Sadeq also expressed the GNC's condemnation of the recent beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the ISIL in Libya.

"However, Egyptian authorities never contacted us regarding the situation of the Egyptian victims and how they entered Libya," he said, urging Egyptian authorities to provide protection to Egypt's Libyan community.

The GNC also plans to establish a joint force to secure the city of Sirte and deter any attempt to undermine its stability, Abdel-Sadeq said, giving no further details.

Earlier Monday, Libyan Air Force Chief-of-Staff Saqr Geroushi said at least 40 militants had been killed in airstrikes on ISIL targets in Libya in joint airstrikes carried out by the Egyptian and Libyan air forces.

The airstrikes came one day after a video appeared online showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic-Christian workers in Libya by masked men purportedly belonging to ISIL.

In a televised address on Sunday following the video's appearance, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said his country "reserves the right to respond at the appropriate time to avenge the killing of its nationals."

Libya has remained a source of concern for Egypt since the North African country descended into violence and chaos following the 2011 ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

In the more than three years since, Egyptians have been frequently targeted in Libya, prompting Cairo to warn citizens against travelling to the fractious nation.

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