After Sunday’s beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the ISIS affiliate in Libya, the Egyptian military junta wasted no time in launching “retaliatory” strikes against ISIS forces.
Unfortunately, Egypt’s airstrikes were not particularly accurate, and at least seven civilians, including three children, have been confirmed killed in the airstrikes against the coastal city of Derna, near the Egyptian border.
To make matters worse, ISIS was out in force in the wake of the attacks, moving against other Egyptian civilians in the cities under their control. Reports are that at least 35 more Egyptians have been captured by ISIS, again in “retaliation” for attacks that were themselves retaliatory.
There were at least two rounds of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Derna and Sirte, and Egyptian officials claimed they’d killed scores of ISIS fighters. Most of the attacks centered on training camps.
The Egyptian junta has been backing Libyan General Khalifa Hifter in his attempts to take over the country, first in a coup against the parliament and then on behalf of the parliament that replaced them. Egypt has launched a handful of airstrikes in support of Hifter’s force, though they control very little of the nation.
The ISIS faction in Libya was originally an unaffiliated Islamist faction in the nation’s northeast. Since pledging allegiance to ISIS, the group has become much more powerful and influential, and has carried out operations in several cities across Libya.