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U.S. officials: Egypt, United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes in Libya

U.S. officials: Egypt, United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes in Libya

American officials have stated that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have launched airstrikes in Libya twice in the past week.

The allies teamed up to launch the strikes against "Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli," according to four senior American officials interviewed by The New York Times. The officials report that Egypt and the UAE did not tell Washington officials about their plans. Meanwhile, Egyptian officials reportedly denied the airstrike operation during conversations with American diplomats.

"We don't see this as constructive at all," one of the senior American officials told the Times. The U.S. officials are worried the airstrikes "could further inflame the Libyan conflict at a time when the United Nations and Western powers are seeking a peaceful resolution." The officials suspect that the UAE provided warplanes to bomb Tripoli and that the strikes were launched from a base in Egypt.

The Times also notes that the airstrikes have been "counterproductive" — Islamist militants seized Tripoli's airport the night following the second set of airstrikes. The second round of strikes, which occurred Saturday, are "enough evidence" to conclude the UAE is involved, according to the officials.

Update: The Associated Press confirmed the news Tuesday with two U.S. officials. The officials told AP that Egypt and the Emirates were responsible for the airstrikes and that the U.S. "wasn't notified in advance of the attacks." The officials spoke to AP anonymously as they "weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter." --Meghan DeMaria

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