A Libyan army spokesperson said Sunday that army forces have besieged the city of Derna that is under control of “Islamic State” in Libya fighters.
Mohamed Al-Hegazy said that according to a strategy laid down by the Libyan Army, forces besieged Derna through four routes, Libyan news website Libya News 24 reported.
He added that the army forces are deployed 10km-18km outside the city, and are currently waiting for orders to fight. Al-Hegazy also said that entrances to the city are within range of the Libyan army forces.
Sites in Derna were among targeted areas for airstrikes launched by Egyptian air forces in February. The airstrikes were in retaliation to the beheading of 20 coptic Egyptian workers in the city of Sirte by the “Islamic State” militants.
The “Islamic State” in Libya fighters claimed control of Derna in November 2014 in the absence of a central government.
The spokesman for the army that is loyal to the internationally recognised Tobrok-based government added that Libyan air forces will target Islamic State sites in Derna to pave way for ground forces operations.
In a statement, the Tobruk government called on the international community to end arms sanctions on the government imposed by the United Nations.
The deteriorating security situation in Libya has driven some of the approximately around 1 million Egyptians living and working in Libya out of the country. The departures have occurred following the February airstrikes, as threats of abduction and death has risen against them.
The first batch of Egyptians to return from Libya through Libya arrived Sunday to Cairo International Airport as 70 Egyptians took a flight from Algeria’s In Aménas airport, state news agency MENA reported.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Friday that the total numbers of Egyptians returning via EgyptAir flights and over the Salloum border crossing has reached 25,529.
The statement said 4,122 citizens returned via Egypt Air flights up until 26 February, and 21,407 Egyptians have crossed into Egypt through the Salloum border crossing.
Coordination between fForeign ministry and Ministry of Civil Aviation depends on using Tunisian airports to help Egyptians wishing to return from Libya to leave the country. The use of Algerian airports adds another option for Egyptians in Libya.
Algerian authorities facilitated the return of the 70 Egyptians who entered Algeria through Debdeb border crossing, MENA reported.