Egypt investigates killing of 19 alleged Egyptians in Libya

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/7/9 6:58:16

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is following up the issue of the 19 people believed to be Egyptians who were found dead in a desert area in northeastern Libya, the ministry's spokesman said in a statement on Saturday.

"The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli, currently operating from Cairo, was informed by its sources at the Libyan Red Crescent that the dead bodies of about 19 persons were found in the Libyan desert area between Tobruk and Ajdabiya," Foreign Ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in the statement.

He added that the identities of only seven of them have been verified, noting they most likely have been killed by smugglers during an illegal immigration attempt.

"The Foreign Ministry is closely following up the issue to identify the rest of the bodies," the spokesman said, adding that measures are being made to transfer the seven identified bodies back home.

Egypt has been working with Libya's neighboring states to reach a political settlement in the conflict-stricken country, which is currently engaged in a civil war and run by two rival administrations, one in the capital Tripoli and the other in Tobruk city in the east.

Egypt seeks Libya's stability to maintain the Egyptian national security, secure its western borders and uproot cross-border terrorism, according to security experts.

Suffering terrorism at home, Egypt is concerned about its western borders with eastern Libya that have once been a point of infiltration of militants back and forth between the two countries.

The Egyptian forces destroyed in two airstrikes in May and June at least 27 vehicles loaded with weapons and ammunition while attempting to infiltrate into Egypt through the western borders with Libya.

The Egyptian leadership of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi supports the self-proclaimed Libyan national army led by strongman Marshall Khalifa Haftar and the parliament-backed government in Tobruk.

Tobruk's administration was internationally recognized before the Libyan Presidential Council (PC) was established in 2015 to run a unity government in Tripoli as per a UN-brokered peace deal between Libyan factions reached in Skhirat, Morocco.

Posted in: AFRICA

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