Egypt and UAE Air Force jets behind mysterious airstrikes on Islamist militias in Libya

UAE and Egypt Air Force jets have conducted the mysterious series of airstrikes in Libya, a U.S. officials said earlier today.

The mysterious airstrikes that have hit Islamist militias in Tripoli at least twice during the last week were carried out by Egypt and United Arab Emirates warplanes.

This is what U.S. officials said, according to the New York Times.

Interestingly, the airstrikes were not coordinated with the U.S.: Washington was not even informed about the raids, even though some American planes have operated over Tripoli, supporting the recent evacuation of the US Embassy as well as performing surveillance missions in the area.

It looks like the aircraft (or most of them) launched from Egyptian airbases (although Cairo has always denied a direct involvement in Libya) with UAE Air Force providing aircrews, attack planes and aerial refuelers.

The first airstrikes hit various Islamist militias positions in Tripoli including an ammo depot. A second round of strikes concentrated in the southern part of the city where vehicles and rocket launchers were bombed.

Libyan authorities were unable to establish which was behind the mysterious airstrikes even if some debris, including a fin of the guidance kit for Mk 82s, pointed towards air forces equipped with aircraft capable to drop GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bombs.

Now, American officials have unveiled the U.S. has collected enough evidence to determine UAE planes carried out the attacks.

Interestingly, UAE Air Force jets have already bombed Libya during 2011 Air War, when F-16s usually armed with 2 GBU-12s, 4 AIM-120 AMRAAMs and SNIPER pod (along with Mirage 2000s) took part in NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

The airstrikes have failed to prevent militias from gaining control of Tripoli airport.

Image via anonymous source

About David Cenciotti 3664 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.