Libya calls for Arab airstrikes against ISIL
TUNIS - The Associated Press
REUTERS photoLibya’s internationally recognized government appealed to Arab countries to carry out airstrikes against the local Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) affiliate which is expanding its hold on the coastal city of Sirte.
The statement late on Aug. 15 came after the ISIL affiliate seized control of a new neighborhood in Sirte. The militants shelled the area, killed a senior cleric and hung the bodies of prisoners over bridges.
“The Libyan government, unable to ward off these terrorist groups because of the arms embargo, and out of its historic responsibility toward its people, calls on brotherly Arab countries ... to launch airstrikes against specific targets of (ISIL) locations in Sirte in coordination with our concerned bodies,” the statement said.
The government also condemned the failure of the international community to take action against the group’s rise in Libya.
The Arab League said it will hold an emergency meeting on Libya on Aug. 18.
Egypt has joined Libya’s government in calls for international intervention there against ISIL. Egypt has carried out airstrikes inside Libya, including in February after Islamic State militants killed 21 Egyptian hostages there.
The ISIL affiliate posted pictures on social media showing booty it seized from the neighborhood in Sirte, including vehicles and ammunition.
Fighting began earlier this week after a rival Islamist group, backed by a local tribe, refused to pledge allegiance to ISIL and called for a revolt.