Egypt Joins Anti-ISIS Coalition

After Putin’s state visit to Egypt more than a week ago, where he was received with a grandiose welcome, Egypt is now bombing Islamic State [ISIS] positions in Libya including its weapons depot.

Israel is actively air transporting weapons to and from Libya for ISIS use in Syria and Iraq.

This is Egypt’s response to the publicized beheading of 20 Egyptians very recently. The beheadings might have been done to warn Egypt what will happen should it cooperate with Putin.

Egyptian air strikes target Isis weapons stockpiles in Libya

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Training bases also targeted and Libya launches own strikes day after Islamic State militants post beheadings video

Egyptian warplanes bombed sites in Libya early on Monday, a day after Islamic State (Isis) militants released a video depicting the apparent mass beheading of 21 Egyptian hostages.

The air strikes targeted training locations and weapons stockpiles belonging to Isis in Libya, Egypt’s military said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The strikes took place, the statement said, “in response to criminal acts of terrorist elements and organisations inside and outside the country”. All of the warplanes returned safely to base, according to the military.

The raids represent the first time Egypt has acknowledged direct military involvement since Libya’s crisis began nearly four years ago with an armed uprising that toppled autocrat Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya’s air force also launched strikes in the eastern city of Derna, which was taken over by an Isis affiliate last year. An air force commander said 40-50 militants were killed.

“There are casualties among the individuals, ammunition and the communication centres belonging to them,” Saqer al-Joroushi said on Egyptian state television. “The number of deaths are not less than 40 or 50 for sure,” he said.

François Hollande, the French president, and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, his Egyptian counterpart, called on Monday for the UN security council to meet over Libya and to take new measures. The two had discussed the situation over telephone, Hollande’s office said.

Egypt has provided clandestine support to forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognised government, which fled the capital for the eastern cities of Bayda and Tobruk last year. According to western officials, Egypt also allowed its bases to be used for air strikes in Libya in 2014. Egyptian government officials denied such military involvement.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are among the key supporters of Khalifa Heftar, a renegade Libyan general, now allied with the recognised government, leading a campaign against a rival Islamist-leaning government in Tripoli and its allied militias.

In the context of the chaotic civil war in Libya, armed groups claiming allegiance with Isis have claimed attacks in various sections of Libya. Libyan fighters have circulated to and from the war in Syria, and experts say Isis has sought alliances with local armed groups in Libya.

The video released on Sunday claims to show the killing of 21 Coptic Egyptian hostages on a beach in Libya. The online clip is shot in a similar style to previous videos published by Isis militants in the group’s core in Iraq and Syria. The self-proclaimed Islamic State seized vast chunks of territory in those two countries.

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Russia, Egypt may move away from US dollar: Putin

Mon Feb 9, 2015 10:12AM

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow and Cairo may soon abandon the US dollar in bilateral trade and use their national currencies instead.

Putin said during an interview with Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily newspaper, ahead of his visit to Egypt on Monday, that the issue was being “actively discussed” between the two sides.

“This measure will open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation between our countries, reduce its dependence on the current trends in the world markets,” Putin said. “This issue is being discussed in substance by relevant agencies of both countries.”

Putin also said that the use of the Russian ruble and the Egyptian pound in settlement of the accounts would help create more favorable conditions for Russian people who regularly travel to Egypt.

The Russian leader added that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to more than $4.5 billion, a figure nearly 50 percent up from the previous year.

According to Russian sources, Moscow has also been seeking a change to the use of national currencies in mutual bilateral trade with countries including China, India, Thailand and Turkey. Russia is also in talks with Iran to exclude the US dollar from bilateral transactions.

Russia provides about 40 percent of grain consumed in Egypt, while Moscow imports fruits and vegetables from Cairo.

Following sanctions imposed on Russia by Western powers over Moscow’s alleged role in the crisis in Ukraine, Russia imposed a full ban of European Union, US, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian food exports to the country.

Egypt then announced it would increase agricultural deliveries to Russia by 30 percent.

SZH/MKA

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