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Egypt launches airstrikes against ISIL in Libya

(AP) Egypt launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya on Monday, hours after militants there released a video purporting to show the mass beheading of Egyptian Christian hostages.
A spokesman for the Armed Forces General Command announced the strikes on state radio, and said they were “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers,” the Associated Press reported.
The statement said the warplanes targeted weapons caches and training camps before returning safely. “Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them,” it said.
It marks the first time Cairo has publicly acknowledged taking military action in Libya, where extremist groups seen as a threat to both countries have taken root in recent years.
A spokesman for Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni told the BBC that Egyptian jets had taken part in co-ordinated air strikes on the militant-held city of Derna.
Libya’s air force said it had launched strikes in the eastern city of Darna, which was taken over by an Islamic State affiliate last year. The announcement, on the Facebook page of the Air Force Chief of Staff, did not provide further details.
Meanwhile, Bahrain said deployed fighter planes to Jordan, a day after it announced plans to send troops to the kingdom.
Bahrain and Jordan are part of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.
Egypt launches airstrikes against ISIL in Libya
On Sunday, a video purporting to show the mass beheading the hostages by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to ISIL.
The video shows a line of men dressed in orange jumpsuits forced onto their knees and beheaded.
The video was posted on social media. On Twitter, several accounts distributed links to the video carrying the title, “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”
The Egyptian government and the Coptic Church based in Egypt both declared the video authentic. Egypt banned all travel to Libya by its citizens in response.
Contributing: Jane Onyanga-Omara, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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