File photo: United Nations Security Council in session (Reuters)
Egypt handed a letter to the head of the UN Security Council on Saturday, informing him of its recent airstrikes on terrorist hideouts in eastern Libya and citing its right to self-defence, Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Egypt, a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council, said in its letter, “The airstrikes that targeted the locations of terrorist organisations in Derna, eastern Libya, are in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter on self-defence and with the Security Council’s resolutions concerning terrorism.”
The airstrikes, conducted on Friday and Saturday, were in response to a terrorist gun-attack in Egypt on Friday that killed 29 people and left at least 22 others injured.
Unknown assailants driving three 4x4 trucks attacked a bus carrying Egyptian Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Minya governorate. The attackers sprayed the bus with automatic gunfire.
The Egyptian military said on Saturday that Libyan terrorist elements took part in planning and executing the Minya attack.
Egypt's airstrikes on Libyan targets are not the first in recent years.
In February 2015, the Egyptian military, in coordination with the Libyan military, carried out airstrikes against Daesh targets in Libya following the exectution of several Egyptians in Libya. The terrorists released a graphic video showing Daesh militants beheading Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped inside Libya.
Friday's gun attack follows close on the heels of a double suicide bombing targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt.
On 9 April, suicide bombers attacked St George's Church in Tanta and St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing and injuring dozens in the deadliest attack against civilians in the country's recent history. A total of 29 people died in the Tanta explosion and 18 in Alexandria.
Cairo imposed a nationwide three-month state of emergency after the April bombings, with the option to extend for another three months dependent on a vote by parliament.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.