Egypt: UN Force Needed for 'Abandoned' Libya
Militia-backed PM calls strikes 'treacherous aggression'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2015 11:44 PM CST
Updated Feb 18, 2015 12:15 AM CST
Egyptians, mostly Christians, chant slogans during a protest in Cairo, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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(Newser) – Egypt's president says creating a UN-backed coalition is the best course of action to rid Libya of Islamic extremists. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, speaking to France's Europe 1 Radio yesterday, said Egyptian airstrikes against ISIS positions in Libya on Monday were in self-defense. The airstrikes were in retaliation for the mass beheading on a beach of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians. "We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children," el-Sisi said. Asked whether he wanted to see a UN-backed coalition for Libya, he said: "I think there is no choice." He added that any intervention to restore security in Libya should be done with the consent of the country's people and government.

"We have abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners of the militias," the general-turned-politician said. "The militias have to give up their arms and must work in a civil context. We have to disarm and prevent arms from falling into the hands of extremists." But Omar al-Hassi, the militia-supported prime minister in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, denounced the strikes as "treacherous aggression" and "a violation of Libyan sovereignty and a scandalous violation of the UN charter and international law." Libya's elected and internationally recognized parliament and government were forced to convene outside Tripoli when the capital was overrun by Islamic and tribal militias last year, and Egypt has urged the UN to take steps to help Libya's "legitimate government."