Egyptian F-16 fighter jets and United Arab Emirates’ Airbus A330-243MRTT tankers have reportedly been spotted flying over Libyan skies on Monday.
“Just heard a report on Egypt Air Force's F-16C/D fighter jets supported by UAE Air Force's Airbus A330-243MRTT Tankers are flying in Libya's airspace now,” Babak Taghvaee, a military expert tweeted, citing sources from Libyan National Army (LNA) sources.
The expert noted that no airstrike had been reported anywhere in Libya. “No airstrike is reported anywhere in Libya for now but some sound barrier have been broken by the fighter jets in south of Misrata and near Bani Walid,” Taghvaee added.
On Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country has a legitimate right to intervene in neighbouring Libya and ordered his army to be ready to carry out any mission outside the country, if necessary.
“Al-Sisi’s speech in front of a crowd of his army near the border is beating the drums of war. Egypt has intervened for four years, which he denied and claimed his concern for Libya's security. Libya's security has been in danger since Egypt's insistence on undermining democracy and installing a military man whose master we have previously rejected and brought down. Take your hands off us. And do not repeat your tragedy in Yemen,” Abdurrahman Shater, a member of the GNA-allied Libyan High Council of State, tweeted Sunday.
Turkey’s support for the internationally recognized recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) appears to have turned the tables on forces loyal to the LNA led by putschist commander Khalifa Haftar. Haftar Army is backed by the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“Egypt has the right to defend itself after receiving direct threats from terrorist militias and mercenaries supported by foreign countries,” Al-Sisi warned.
The main aims of any intervention would include protecting Cairo’s 1,200-km (746-mile) western border, helping achieve a ceasefire, and restoring stability and peace in Libya, he said.
“Egypt has always been reluctant to intervene in Libya and wants a political solution to its conflict. But the situation now is different. If some people think that they can cross the Sirte-Jufra frontline, this is a red line for us,” the president added.
The leader also said Cairo could provide Libyan tribes with training and arms to fight terrorist militias.