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CAIRO, Egypt, Feb 17 – Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, Egypt has enforced a travel ban to Libya, after the Islamic State (IS) radical group beheaded 21 Coptic Egyptians Sunday.
“We have established a permanent crisis group in the consular section of the Foreign Ministry, to deal with any possible implications on the ground,” Foreign Ministry spokesman, Badr Abdel-Atty told reporters, in a press conference held in Cairo.
He added that, the government is now coordinating all its efforts to deal with any situation in the field.
“We have thousands of Egyptians in Libya and we are in contact with them, directly or through third parties. We are coordinating with the government, along with heads of different tribes, in order to secure their safety and provide facilities for those who would like to return to Egypt,” he said.
During the rule of former Libyan leader, Moamar Qaddafi, which ended in 2001, after a popular uprising against his government, Libya was home to some 1.5 million Egyptian employees.
However, the deteriorating security conditions in the war-torn country forced hundreds of thousands of Egyptians to return home.
Commenting on the fresh Egyptian air strikes against IS military sites in Libya, Abdel-Atty said, Egypt has executed its inalienable right of self-defence, in accordance with the United Nations charter, which gives full rights to member states for self-defence and to protect their citizens.
He also said that, Egypt’s Foreign Minister instructed his assistants to recall foreign ambassadors in the country, to update them on recent developments, adding that, Egyptian ambassadors abroad were also instructed to have the same demarche.
“The message is very clear… countries should stand firmly alongside Egypt in this critical period,” he said.
The spokesman stressed that, the international community has the responsibility to react to this matter, as the deteriorating situation in Libya poses a direct threat to international peace and security.
“It is paramount for the international community and specifically the Security Council to act, as it is entrusted to take different measures to maintain international peace and security,” Abdel-Atty added.
He said that, Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri will meet with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and member states of the Security Council, hoping Egypt manages an urgent session in the Security Council.
He conveyed a message to the International Coalition against IS, in which Egypt is a member, that they have to react firmly and free from subjectiveness and double standards.
Egypt conducted air strikes on IS targets in Libya Monday, hours after the group released a video, purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts.
Egypt’s State television showed footage of Egyptian fighter jets taking off to execute the strikes. The military statement said, the Egyptian eagles executed the strikes accurately and returned to base.
Speaking on national television, hours after the release of the video late Sunday, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said, Egypt would choose the “right way and time to avenge the murders.”