The Egyptian military has carried out several airstrikes against purported terrorist training camps in Libya after unknown gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of the Egyptian capital Cairo, leaving at least 28 dead.
State television, citing an army statement, reported that Egyptian warplanes carried out at least six airstrikes against “terror camps” in the eastern Libyan city of Derna.
It added that the aerial raids had been carried out after making sure that men from those camps were involved in the bus attack.
“Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbor or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Friday evening in a televised speech hours after the terrorist attack in the country’s Minya province.
Sisi went on to say that an airstrike against the camps was being conducted as he spoke, adding that the carnage would not be left unanswered.
According to a statement by the Egyptian Interior Ministry, masked assailants in three pickups stopped the vehicle and opened fire on it as it was heading for the Saint Samuel monastery in the province, over 200 kilometers from Cairo. The attack also injured more than two dozen other passengers. A number of children were among the dead.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Friday morning attack.
Meanwhile, east Libyan forces, led by military strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, said in a statement that they had participated in the Egyptian airstrikes on Derna. It further said the raids targeted forces allegedly linked to the al-Qaeda Takfiri terrorist group at a number of sites, adding that the aerial raids would be followed by a ground operation.
Haftar’s forces have already besieged the militant-held city and conducted occasional airstrikes on the terrorists’ positions.
The attack came after church bombings in December and April claimed by Daesh that killed dozens of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 93-million population. The Takfiri terrorists have threatened more attacks against the Arab country’s Christian minority.
The April bombings took place in Alexandria and Tanta, taking more than 45 lives. The deadly blasts prompted Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.