Egypt’s parliament has approved a motion to deploy troops to Libya in a move that could escalate its civil war.
The house of representatives voted on Monday to “defend Egyptian national security in the strategic western direction against … armed criminal militias and foreign terrorists.”
President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has called the coastal city of Sirte a “red line” and warned that should troops aligned with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) attack the city, Egyptian forces will march across the border.
Egypt backs the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar, which is fighting to overthrow Tripoli’s UN-recognised administration. Gen Haftar’s siege of Tripoli was broken following Turkey’s intervention on the GNA side, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deploying troops and Islamist militia fighters relocated from Syria to fight the LNA.
Libya has been at war since Nato powers helped jihadist rebels overthrow the Muammar Gadaffi government in 2011.