By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 16 February 2015:
The rump of the General National Congress (GNC) and the Mujahadeen Shura Council of Derna . . .[restrict](MSCD) have both strongly condemned airstrikes by Egypt on Derna and promised a harsh response against Egypt.
The MSCD called the situation in Derna “tragic”, claiming that the airstrikes had landed on residential neighbourhoods, killing innocent women and children.
Promising to ensure the safety of Egyptians living in Derna, the MSCD also threatened the “criminal” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, saying that the blood of Derna’s women and children was not cheap and that there would be a “harsh” response.
Strongly condemning the 21 beheadings of Egyptian Copts in Sirte by a group purporting to represent the Islamic State (IS), the GNC expressed its condolences to the families of the victims in a statement.
“It is crucial that Libyans stand together in times like these,” the GNC said. “Those terrorist acts have nothing to do with Islam.”
The GNC went on to stress that the war on terror must be carried out under the legitimacy of the State, respecting Libya’s sovereignty.
The Egyptian government did not contact the GNC before commencing the airstrikes, the rump congress said.
“The GNC has formed a military force and a joint security room to secure Sirte. We are prepared to hit those who undermine Sirte’s stability with an iron fist,” the GNC said, referring to fears that IS has taken over a second Libyan.
A spokesman for Egypt’s Armed Forces General Command announced the strikes on state radio, the first time the Egyptian government publicly acknowledged taking military action in Libya.
In his statement, the spokesman said the planes were targeting weapons’ caches and training camps “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers”.
Libya’s internationally-recognised government in Beida has announced that it has also launched air strikes in Derna. [/restrict]