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Egyptian – French military maneuvers off Libyan coasts

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Heba Mahmoud

Military maneuvers in the Mediterranean, between Egypt and France, hold number of political and military messages warns of possible military intervention in Libya.

French chief of staff announced, Tuesday, that the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, that left the Gulf towards the Mediterranean, will participate in the military maneuvers within the coming days with the Egyptian army. The chief of staff added that the aircraft carrier and escorted ships (four frigates, support and command submarine) will participate in the exercises dubbed (Ramsis 2016).

“Military maneuvers aim to “exchange experts with the Egyptian military in the light of our common cooperation with one main partner in the Middle East”, the chief of staff said.

Military experts confirm that France wants to have leading role in the campaign against the Islamic State (IS), to preserve its interests in Libya and North Africa. Despite that, France hasn’t openly announced its support for military operations inside Libya, fearing of any negative impacts, it strongly prepares for participating under European and American auspices.

Mediterranean maneuvers at time when the IS expansion causes growing concerns at Cairo and the western powers. France acknowledges in 2015 that it executed intelligence operations above Libya. French defense ministry announced, 26 February, that Charles De Gaulle left the Gulf with 26 planes to participate in the fight against the IS.

Some observants believe that France withdrew its aircraft carrier to focus attention on Russian involvement in Syria and impose new reality that protects its interests and empower lucks of Bashar Al-Asad.

Eye witnesses inside Sirte said, Tuesday, that Islamic State (IS) leaders announced a state of maximum alert, its elements were deployed across the eastern coastal road leading to the city in preparation for any attacks. They added the group established security check points in different positions inside the city to inspect cars and by passers.

This came after unknown fighter jets bombed the IS positions, Tuesday morning, targeted positions near the city port. More than 121 families fled the city, according to local sources.

Italian government announced, Tuesday evening, its readiness to lead military operations inside Libya, if requested by the Government of National Accord (GNA) after its formation.

Italian Foreign Secretary, Paulo Gentiloni, said that “Italy’s participation at any military operations is conditioned with the formation of a unity government that request international military support”.